Research suggests that media campaigns targeting weight-related behaviors may inadvertently increase stigmatization of obese and overweight individuals and could backlash such that stigmatized individuals are less likely to engage in healthy behaviors following exposure to the message. This study examines stigmatized and non-stigmatized parents’ emotional and cognitive responses to sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB)-reduction public service announcements (PSAs) with different emotional appeals, and the association of those responses in predicting participants’ intentions to reduce their own and their children’s SSB consumption. In an online survey experiment among 807 U.S. parents, participants were randomly assigned to view anti-SSB PSAs containing one of three persuasive appeals (fear, humor, or nurturance). Emotional responses, evaluation of argument strength, and intention to reduce SSB consumption were measured following PSA exposure. Non-stigmatized parents felt less empowerment and hope and perceived weaker arguments if they viewed humorous PSAs compared to those who had been stigmatized because of their weight. Higher perceptions of argument strength were associated with stronger intentions to reduce one’s own and one’s child’s SSB consumption. Among stigmatized parents only, strogner negative emotional responses to the PSAs were associated with lower intentions to reduce one’s own SSB consumption.
Published: February 2016
ID #: 69802
Journal: Media Psychol
Authors: Vaala SE, Bleakley A, Hennessy M, Jordan AB
Do Emotional Appeals in Public Service Advertisements Influence Adolescents’ Intention to Reduce Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages?Mass media campaigns are a commonly used and often effective public health strategy. However, it is unknown how health messages about sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), widely accepted and advertised products, will be perceived by teen audiences. This study investigated the direct and mediated effects of emotional appeals in beverage-related public service advertisements (PSAs) that aired between More