A field experiment study (N = 189) was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of empathy appeal antismoking messages and their potential advantage over fear appeal messages. Data from 12 antismoking public service announcements showed that (a) smokers resist antismoking messages and (b) overall empathy appeal was equally effective as fear appeal messages. There was also evidence for moderators. First, empathy messages were more effective to women than to men. Second, fear appeal messages were more effective to occasional smokers than were empathy messages. Third, empathy messages were more effective to regular smokers than were fear appeal messages. Implications for audience segmentation and message targeting in public health antismoking efforts are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences