The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4094.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 10

Abstract #47974

Adolescent responses to prevention messages: The effects of message type and source

Michael Burgoon, PhD1, Eusebio Alvaro, PhD1, Joseph Grandpre, PhD1, William D. Crano, PhD2, and Jason T Siegel, MA3. (1) Health Communication Research Office, Arizona Cancer Center, 1522 E Drachman Street, Tucson, AZ 85721-0475, (2) Psychology Department, Claremont Graduate University, 123 E. Eighth St., Claremont, CA 91711, (3) Health Communication Research Office, University of Arizona, 1522 E Drachman Street, Tucson, AZ 85721-0475

There is little question that adolescent drug use continues to be a problem in the United States. For example, a recent survey found almost 50% of high school students surveyed had used marijuana on at least one occasion, with 25% of students using marijuana thirty days prior to being polled. Additionally, more than 14% of high school students have used inhalants at least once, and almost one of every twenty high school students currently uses inhalants. Using the Theory of Psychological Reactance, this study examined responses from 1,317 students attending 12 different schools/districts in southern Arizona to prevention messages concerning marijuana and inhalants. In general, implicit messages were perceived as less controlling and allowing for more decisional freedom than explicit messages. However, this finding was offset by an interaction with message source with adolescents reacting most positively to implicit messages from adult sources. Messages from peer sources, regardless of message explicitness, were seen as less controlling than explicit adult messages, but more controlling than the implicit adult messages. This finding, though somewhat surprising, points to a possible positive violation of the adolescentsí expectations concerning adult-based prevention messages using implicit or non-controlling language. Given these results, it may be possible for adults to have a greater positive impact on adolescents than even peers. These results also provide more avenues of research and increased possibilities for health practitioners to utilize adult message sources without eliciting reactance in adolescent targets.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

    Keywords: Adolescent Health, Drug Use

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    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.

    Etiology and Prevention of Substance Abuse among Youth Poster Session

    The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA