A 1991 study by Pinto and Priest demonstrated the effectiveness of advertisements employing moderate levels of guilt in inducing guilt responses in subjects. Because individuals' responses to guilt are often influenced by their specific personality characteristics, researchers have pointed to the potential moderating effects of individual difference variables such as level of self-esteem and locus of control on individuals' susceptibility to guilt appeals. A study was conducted to evaluate the possibility that self-esteem and locus of control can act as covariates across three treatment levels of guilt advertising. From a sample of 57 working mothers, advertisements stimulating medium and high levels of guilt elicited significantly greater feelings of guilt in subjects than the control advertisement stimulating low guilt. However, the relationship between susceptibility to guilt appeals and self-esteem and locus of control was not observed to covary.
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