5153.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - Board 1

Abstract #5553

U.S. health campaign effectiveness: A meta-analysis of the impact of message factors, exposure, control group trends, and campaign length

Leslie B. Snyder, PhD and Mark A. Hamilton, PhD. Dept. of Communication Sciences, University of Connecticut, Box U-85, Storrs, CT 06269-1085, 860 486-4383, Leslie.Snyder@uconn.edu

We conducted a meta-analysis of 48 U.S. health behavior campaigns to estimate the effect of media campaigns on behavior change. The average campaign effect size on behavior was r=.09, which roughly translates into 9% more people performing the behavior after the campaign than before. We found that campaigns with at least one message about the enforcement of laws promoting a health behavior -- such as announcements regarding random seat belt checks at roadblocks -- have a much greater impact than campaigns without enforcement messages. Campaigns with a greater percentage of people exposed to the campaign messages have greater effects. The mediocre rates of exposure in the intervention communities indicate that this is an area with much room for improvement in future campaigns. We also found that it is difficult to outperform a rising trend the control community -- the effect of control group trend on campaign effect size was negative. Campaigns that lasted a year or less had a higher effect size than campaigns lasting more than a year. Inclusion of a campaign message that contained new information also increased effect size by contributing directly to campaign effects, and by increasing exposure to the campaign. Thus, media campaigns can cause behavior change. The fact that many campaign evaluations find no effects is due to the small nature of campaign effects rather than null effects. The figures for campaign effects should be helpful for campaign planners when setting specific behavioral goals.

Learning Objectives: By the end of the session, participants will be able to: (1) Write more realistic goals and objectives for their mediated health promotions and campaigns based on the average effect sizes found in the meta-analysis. (2) Recognize the advantage of campaigns that have greater exposure within the target community. (3) Strategize about which message factors to attempt to include in their campaigns

Keywords: Media Campaigns, Social Marketing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA