Published: July 2015

ID #: 69802

Journal: Am Behav Sci

Authors: Jordan A, Bleakley A, Hennessy M, Vaala S, Glanz K, Strasser AA

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There is substantial evidence that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is associated with weight gain in both children and adults. As a result, Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have been produced to both increase knowledge about the amount of sugar in drinks and to highlight the harmful effects of their overconsumption. This article explores the impact of anti-SSB PSAs on parents’ intention to reduce their child’s consumption of SSBs. Eight-hundred and seven parents were assigned to one of three experimental conditions with exposure to PSAs using distinct emotional appeals (fear, humor, and nurturance) or a control group (non-SSB PSA). Parents’ emotional and cognitive responses to the ads and intentions to cut back on their child’s SSB consumption were assessed using a path analysis. Findings show no difference in the experimental versus control groups on intention to reduce children’s intake. However, parents who had greater feelings of empowerment and hope, and greater perceived argument strength post-PSA viewing, were significantly more likely to intend to cut back on their child’s SSB consumption. These findings suggest that anti-SSB campaigns targeting parents should include strong arguments for SSB reduction, invoke feelings of empowerment and hope, and be clearly directed at distinct parent audiences.

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