Anti-drinking and driving PSAS: a content analysis of persuasive appeals and images portrayed in PSAS
Roberson, Kasie Mitchell
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This study is a content analysis of persuasive appeals and images portrayed in a collection of anti-drinking and driving television PSAs from the mid-1980s to 2001. Previous research has tested the distribution of appeals in anti-drinking and driving PSAs, but this explorative study focuses mostly on the images portrayed in the PSAs and their association with the appeals used. Social marketing theory is used in the study as a theoretical foundation for the development of key aspects of anti-drinking and driving PSAs. Social marketing theory is the combination of several mid-range constructs that emphasize the creation of awareness and behavioral change in regards to societal issues. Content analysis was used to analyze the 185 PSAs gathered from highly regarded organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and The Advertising Council. A well-known researcher in the area of drunk driving PSAs, Dr. Michael Slater, also donated older PSAs for the stud\. The results confirmed past research in regards to appeals used in the PSAs and revealed the images most often portrayed in anti-drinking and driving PSAs. Informative/educational appeals were most often found in the PSAs, followed by empathy, fear and social modeling appeals. The results also revealed that the distribution of the images portrayed, in association with the appeals, was statistically significant. Spokespersons were found to be the image most often associated with informative/educational appeals and victims/family were found to be the image most often associated with empathy appeals. Graphic images were also found to be the image most often associated with fear appeals. There were not enough cases to show any significance in the distribution of images associated with social modeling appeals. Further research could be done in this area in regards to effectiveness of anti-drinking and driving PSAs. Surveys, interviews and even experimental designs could be created using this study as a foundation. This study is a first step in establishing what images are portrayed in the PSAs and researchers could use that as the stepping-stone into further research.