Article

Experimental evaluation of antitobacco PSAs: Effects of message content and format on physiological and behavioral outcomes

Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, 3535 Market Street, Suite 4100, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research (Impact Factor: 2.81). 03/2009; 11(3):293-302. DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntn026
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Antitobacco media campaigns using public service announcements (PSAs) have shown promise in reducing smoking initiation and increasing intentions to quit. Research on what makes an effective PSA has had mixed outcomes. The present study tested the effects of specific message features in antitobacco PSAs, using theory-based physiological and self-report outcomes.
PSAs were categorized as high or low in message sensation value (MSV) and strength of argument and presented to 200 current smokers in a 2 x 2 factorial design. Physiological responses-specifically, heart rate, skin conductance, zygomaticus major, and corrugator supercilii-were assessed while participants viewed the PSAs. Beliefs, attitudes, efficacy, norms, and intentions to quit were assessed immediately following viewing.
Corrugator activity was significantly greater in the high MSV condition. Among those low in sensation seeking, low MSV PSAs elicited higher self-efficacy, whereas the reverse was true for high sensation seekers. High MSV PSAs elicited higher negative beliefs in low sensation seekers. Adding physiological measures to a model predicting intention to quit did not improve the explained variance.
The present study represents the first comprehensive theory-based experimental investigation of the effects of different features of antitobacco PSAs and provides a framework for future research in identifying effective features of such PSAs. Results illustrate the importance of considering individual differences, characterizing both PSA content and format, and outcome and response measures when evaluating antitobacco PSAs.

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Available from: Joseph N Cappella, Aug 30, 2015
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    • "A great deal of research has been directed at the elements that help to create effective PSAs especially in the tobacco control arena. Researchers have evaluated the role of argument strength (Strasser et al., 2009), content themes (Sutfin, Szykman, & Moore, 2008), and various format features like smoking cues (Kang, Cappella, Strasser, & Lerman, 2009), and sensation value (Strasser et al., 2009). However, less emphasis has been given to role of the social context within which PSAs operate and the impact of contextual factors on overall ad effectiveness. "
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    • "After giving informed consent, participants provided an exhaled breath carbon monoxide sample (Vitalograph, Lenexa, KS, USA) for biochemical verification of smoking status and a saliva sample for genotyping. Positivity offset and negativity bias were assessed as part of a larger study of physiological responses and opinions while viewing anti-tobacco television ads (for details see, Falcone et al., 2011; Strasser et al., 2009). Participants were all current daily cigarette smokers, who were required to complete demographic assessments, then viewed the series of affective pictures prior to viewing a series of anti-tobacco PSAs and completing self-report measures of beliefs about quitting smoking. "
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    • "PSA selection and study design were described previously (Strasser et al. 2009). Briefly, 569 cigarette smoking PSAs were acquired from several state and national health authorities. "
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