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The Effects of Drug-Prevention Messages on the Accessibility of Identity-Related Constructs

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Recent theoretical work has posited that the self-system guides behavior via currently activated self-concepts. The authors adopted this framework to the study of drug-prevention messages by examining the extent to which messages can alter the accessibility of views of self and of drugs that would support nonuse. Participants were exposed to 1 of 3 print-ad conditions: autonomy-themed prevention messages (treatment), health-information themed prevention messages (comparison), and informational consumer ads (control). Outcomes were reaction times to make dichotomous judgments. Relative to comparison and control ads, treatment ads were more successful at activating a self-view as a nonuser, a view that marijuana use is inconsistent with autonomy, and unwillingness to use marijuana. Post-hoc analysis revealed that the effect of ad condition on unwillingness was partially mediated by the accessibility of self-view as a nonuser.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA 2: School of Communication, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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