01/09/2015 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12111 SemanticScholar ID: 23360639 MAG: 2162998782

Tackling student binge drinking: Pairing incongruent messages and measures reduces alcohol consumption.

Publication Summary

OBJECTIVES: Excessive alcohol consumption is a persistent problem in Northern European cultures. Across a 2-week period, we tested the effect of varying message frames, message types, and response measures, in reducing alcohol consumption. DESIGN: Three hundred and twenty-three respondents were allocated to a 2 (message frame: gain vs. loss) × 2 (message type: health vs. social) × 2 (response type: engaging vs. refraining) mixed design. METHOD: Binge drinking and units consumed were measured at Time 1 and Time 2 (2 weeks later). Participants read (following Time 1) a gain- or loss-framed message on binging emphasizing either social or health consequences and answered engaging in or refraining from drinking attitude measures. RESULTS: No main effects were identified. The key finding was that gain-framed messages, when used in conjunction with engage response measures (an incongruous pairing), were highly effective in reducing alcohol consumption 2 weeks later compared with the other message frame/response measure combinations. CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that for prevention behaviours, gain-framed messages, when paired with engage response measures, initiate an inconsistency resolution process. Together, our findings emphasize the importance of message frame and response type when seeking to reduce alcohol consumption using persuasive health messages. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Evidence for the efficacy of message framing on health-related behaviours is inconsistent. This could be determined by the type of behaviours and how they are measured. While much is known about framing effects for prevention or detection behaviours, less is known about the effects for abstinence behaviours including binge drinking. Furthermore, little is known about message frames when they are incongruous with behavioural measures. What does this study add? Shows the effect of using gain-framed messages with engage response measures in reducing alcohol consumption. Provides the first evidence that the efficacy of message frames are influenced by the measures used. Language: en

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