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Researchers find mass media campaigns useful
Date:4/10/2008

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 3, 2008) − Two University of Kentucky researchers from the department of communication in the UK College of Communications and Information Studies have learned that targeted mass media campaigns alone can be effective in convincing high sensation-seeking, impulsive decision-making young adults to adopt safer sex practices.

Past public health campaigns, particularly those promoting healthy behaviors, were rarely successful unless associated with other interventions. But this study, which was funded from the National Institute of Mental Health, indicates that mass media campaigns can be successful alone, at least in the short-term.

This studys findings suggest what we have long suspected and what other smaller studies have found: that mass media campaigns crafted from sophisticated design principles can be effective in changing health behaviors, at least in the short-term, and that a reoccurring campaign presence may be necessary to sustain these safe behaviors, said UK professor Rick Zimmerman, lead researcher of the study and a center director in Louisville, Ky. for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). Philip Palmgreen, professor of communication at UK, was the co-principal investigator on the study.

The implications from this study are valuable for the public health community because it shows that when used properly, media alone can have significant, positive impacts on health-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors," Palmgreen said.

The 21-month-long study assessed the impact of a televised public service announcement (PSA) campaign on changing safer sex beliefs and behaviors. Specifically, the study found that the campaign effectively increased condom use among high-risk young adults, on average, by 13 percent. Similar effects were found on intentions to use condoms in the future and in perceived ability to use condoms. Impact analysis suggests that the campaign may ha
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Contact: Jenny Wells
Jenny.Wells@uky.edu
859-257-3303
University of Kentucky
Source:Eurekalert

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