Title page for ETD etd-04282010-122823


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Sunde, Kristen Meyer
URN etd-04282010-122823
Title Evaluating Different Health Communication Theories to Deter College Binge Drinking: A Look at Promising Directions for Future Research
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Scholl, Rosanne Committee Chair
DeFleur, Margaret Committee Member
Osborne, Anne Committee Member
Keywords
  • religion
  • subjective norms
  • fear appeals
  • college binge drinking
Date of Defense 2010-03-29
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
ABSTRACT

For more than 30 years, college administrators and health communicators have used binge drinking prevention campaigns on university campuses to deter students from this dangerous and life-threatening habit.

Despite the prevalence of such campaigns (Wechsler, Seibring, Liu & Ahl, 2004), binge drinking remains the top public health threat for this population (Wechsler, Dowdall, Davenport, & Castillo, 1995).

In this study, the researcher conducted an experiment using fear appeals to see if these messages were more effective than social norms messages, which are often used in college binge drinking prevention campaigns (Real & Rimal, 2007), at prompting higher message credibility and intentions to change behavior for a sample of college students.

Overall, students in this experiment who viewed messages containing fear, either alone or combined with social norms, reported higher message credibility scores, and students who received a message using only fear reported higher intentions to change behavior than students who received a message with only social norms.

This study offers experimental evidence that fear appeals could be an effective health communication strategy for binge drinking prevention campaigns aimed at college students.

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