Although message pretesting is crucial to the success of media campaigns there is very little research into the processes by which individuals make judgments of perceived message effectiveness. A random sample of college women participated in an internet survey in which they were asked to evaluate one of three messages concerned with the vaccine for the human papillomavirus (N=304). Judgments were made in both terms of the attributes of the message (e.g., logical vs. illogical) and its likely impact (e.g., convincing vs. not convincing). This conceptual distinction was borne out by confirmatory factor analysis. Participants also reported on their frequency of prior exposure to the messages, whether or not their physician encouraged them to be vaccinated, and whether or not they had done so. Although message exposure and physician encouragement did not produce observable effects on the judgment process, having obtained the vaccination corresponded with more favorable evaluations of the messages' attributes. The data also indicated that attribute judgments were causally antecedent to impact judgments. The results contribute to a fledgling theory of perceived message effectiveness.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Drug Discovery