The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5128.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 1:30 PM

Abstract #56126

SENTAR: A sensation seeking approach to social marketing campaigns to prevent risky behaviors

Philip C. Palmgreen, PhD1, Lewis Donohew, PhD1, Elizabeth P. Lorch, PhD2, and Rick H. Hoyle, PhD2. (1) Department of Communication, University of Kentucky, 406 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40506-0042, 859-257-7801,, (2) Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, 406 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40506-0042

Reaching and persuading primarily adolescent and young adult audiences not to engage in risky behaviors is particularly challenging. The groups most at-risk for such behaviors tend to be deviant, impulsive, alienated from parents and mainstream peers and resistant to change. Demographic segmentation is likely to be inefficient in targeting individuals most in need of prevention messages, and psychographic approaches do not include many of the risk and protective factors relevant to drug use, unsafe sex and other risky behaviors. Many of these same factors (e.g., delinquency, self-esteem, poor academics) offer no clear guidance for meaningful segmentation, channel selection and message design. The SENTAR approach offers such guidance. It revolves around the personality trait of sensation seeking, a particularly potent and well-recognized risk factor for drug use and other unhealthy behaviors.1-8 The trait involves a need for novel and emotionally intense stimulation, and a willingness to take risks. High sensation seekers (HSS), compared to low sensation seekers (LSS), also pay greater attention to, and are more persuaded by, more novel, intense, dramatic and stimulating (i.e., high sensation value) messages, as shown by experimental and field investigations.1,3,9-14 This paper will review selected studies, including one demonstrating the effectiveness of SENTAR-based campaigns in reducing current marijuana use by HSS adolescents.1,9-11,14 The primary focus will be on major SENTAR principles, and guidelines for implementing these principles in social marketing campaigns aimed at preventing or reducing risky behaviors.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Communications, Risky Behaviors

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.

Encouraging Healthy Choices

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA