Examining Perceived Message Effectiveness as a Marker for the Impact of Brief Health Behavior Interventions Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Baig, Sabeeh
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior
  • Introduction. Interventionists often select health communication messages based on audience ratings of perceived message effectiveness (PME). I sought to examine the roles of message perceptions (persuasive potential) and effects perceptions (potential for behavior change), two types of PME, in message selection using anti-smoking messages about cigarette smoke chemicals (chemical messages) as a case study. Methods. In three papers, I examined several aspects of the validity of the UNC PME Scale focusing on effects perceptions. The first paper used data from three national samples of adults (n = 999 and n = 1,692) and adolescents (n = 869). The second and third papers used data from a three-week trial of the impact of chemical messages among 703 U.S. adult smokers. At the final visit, a survey assessed message perceptions, effects perceptions, quitting behaviors and quitting antecedents drawn from the UNC Tobacco Warnings Model (TWM). Results. In the first paper, the UNC PME Scale demonstrated strong psychometric properties in diverse populations and across varied chemical messages. In the second paper, message perceptions demonstrated predictive validity only with an early behavioral antecedent from the TWM (attention to the message). However, effects perceptions demonstrated predictive validity with four later antecedents from the TWM: negative affect; thinking about the chemicals in cigarette smoke, or harms of smoking; and quit intentions. Effects perceptions also demonstrated predictive validity with butting out or forgoing a cigarette and quit attempts. In the third paper, effects perceptions, but not message perceptions, mediated the impact of chemical messages on these three quitting behaviors, although the corresponding effect sizes were small to medium. Conclusions. Effects perceptions, but not message perceptions, were a proxy for chemical messages’ impact on three quitting behaviors. This finding supports the diagnostic value of effects perceptions in formative research on messages seeking to change smoking and, potentially, other behaviors. The distinct patterns of predictive validity further suggest that effects perceptions are more relevant to behavior change than message perceptions.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Brewer, Noel
  • Lazard, Allison
  • Gottfredson, Nisha
  • Ribisl, Kurt
  • Noar, Seth
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2019

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