Looking to experiment via text

Added: Jaymi Beckley - Date: 01.11.2021 04:01 - Views: 24597 - Clicks: 1624

Metrics details. Evidence-based policies encouraging healthy behaviours are often strongly opposed by well-funded industry groups. As public support is crucial for policy change, public health advocates need to be equipped with strategies to offset the impact of anti-policy messages. We conducted a two-wave randomised online experiment asing Australian adults to one of four health policies sugary drink tax; sugary drink industry sports sponsorship ban; alcohol tax; alcohol industry sports sponsorship ban.

Generalised linear models tested for differences between conditions in policy support and anti-industry beliefs at both time points. Only the standard argument plus narrative message increased policy support relative to control at time 1.

The standard argument plus narrative and standard argument plus inoculation messages were effective at increasing resistance to the persuasive impact of anti-policy messages relative to control at time 2. Dissemination of advocacy messages using inoculation or narrative components can help strengthen public resistance to subsequent anti-policy messages from industry groups.

Peer Review reports. The tobacco, food, beverage, and alcohol industries direct substantial resources into lobbying against policy reforms that would have an adverse impact on their commercial interests, making it difficult for public health advocates to compete in terms of the volume of exposure [ 345 ].

As public support is crucial for policy change [ 6 ], advocates need to be equipped with strategies to offset the strong opposing arguments propagated by industry groups. Two theory-based approaches may offer utility in these efforts. First, inoculation messages operate on the premise that people can be protected from future attempts at persuasion by messages that warn them of the impending threat to their attitude and refute anticipated opposing arguments [ 78 ].

A meta-analysis found inoculation messages to be more effective than one-sided messages i. Inoculation effects can occur irrespective of the direction and strength of pre-existing attitudes toward an issue [ 11 ]. While originally deed to confer resistance to counter-messages, inoculation messages may also provide an initial persuasive effect by positively influencing attitudes and beliefs immediately following exposure [ 8 ]. Second, narrative messages take the form of a story and focus on the experiences of one or more characters [ 12 ].

The process of being deeply engaged with a narrative can affect audiences by increasing emotional responding and reducing negative cognitive responses such as counter-arguing to the message [ 14 ]. The persuasive impact of narratives can increase over time, suggesting they may be well-suited for competitive framing situations [ 1516 ].

Two recent meta-analyses found that narratives have persuasive effects on changes in attitudes, intentions and behaviour [ 1718 ]. Prior studies conducted in the United States have examined the impact and resilience of separate, print-based inoculation [ 1920 ] and narrative [ 20 ] messages on policy support within a competitive message environment. The present study builds on this research by testing the impact of public health advocacy messages that include inoculation and narrative persuasive components, both separately and in combination, in Australia.

We delivered all messages as a simulated radio segment in light of evidence suggesting that audio and video messages, which are common modes of communication for public health advocates, can produce stronger effects for narratives than messages delivered via text [ 17 ]. Two key areas of current policy debate between public health and industry centre on preventing obesity and reducing alcohol-related harms, providing an opportunity to study the efficacy of advocacy messages across multiple topics.

Across both issues, public health advocates have emphasised the need for population-level approaches requiring government intervention, such as taxation and restrictions on advertising and sponsorship for unhealthy foods and beverages [ 21 ]. Based on theory and prior research, we hypothesise that inoculation and narrative messages delivered separately and in combination will produce immediate persuasive effects by increasing policy support and anti-industry beliefs relative to the control message directly after exposure H1.

We further predict that exposure to an inoculation message will provide protective effects by reducing the impact of a subsequent industry anti-policy message, resulting in greater policy support and stronger anti-industry beliefs compared to exposure to the control message at a two-week follow-up H2. Unlike inoculation messages, narratives are not specifically deed to confer resistance to counter-messages. However, given evidence that the persuasive effects of narrative messages can increase over time [ 1516 ], we test whether exposure to an advocacy message that only incorporates narrative components offsets the impact of a subsequent industry anti-policy message, delivered around two weeks later RQ1.

At time 1 t1we exposed participants to their randomly ased message and then asked them questions assessing policy support and anti-industry beliefs to test for immediate persuasive effects of the advocacy messages. Around two weeks later time 2 t2we exposed participants to an anti-policy message opposing the proposed health policy, then re-assessed policy support and anti-industry beliefs to test for protective effects of the advocacy messages.

We presented all messages in audio format as mock radio segments. We wrote and recorded all messages specifically for the study, with content informed by policy statements and other public materials including news articles on both sides of the four health policy debates. All participants heard a short statement read by a radio presenter introducing obesity sugary drink policies or alcohol-related harms alcohol policies as a major issue in Australia before listening to their ased message at t1.

Participants in the control condition heard nothing other than this introductory statement mean length across the four health policies: In the Standard condition, the introductory statement was followed by an interview with a fictional public health advocate who presented arguments for why the particular policy proposal should be introduced in Australia mean length: Both are non-probability based online panels comprising members initially sourced in a variety of ways such as computer-assisted telephone interviews, face-to-face research and online market research databases, and offer members points for completing surveys that can be redeemed for a variety of rewards such as gift cards.

Applying broad age, sex and location quotas, random samples of panel members were Looking to experiment via text an invitation to participate along with a link to the survey. Informed consent was provided by all participants, after having read the study information, by clicking to proceed with completing the survey. invitations were sent topanellists between 9th September and 16th Novemberand of these recipients, 11, clicked to commence the screening questions response rate: 5.

Of the eligible panellists who commenced the t1 survey, were excluded due to abandoning the Looking to experiment via text before completion while were removed following standard quality control processes, resulting in a final t1 sample of participants. A total of panellists completed the t2 survey between 16th September and 25th November follow-up rate: Table 1 shows the t1 and t2 samples were comparable by randomised condition and on all demographic characteristics except age group, with the t2 sample comprised of slightly older participants.

Both samples were skewed towards females [ 27 ] and older adults [ 27 ] but were similar to the Australian population in terms of socio-economic status [ 28 ]. Using items adapted from Niederdeppe et al. To control for possible order effects, we rotated the order in which participants completed the policy support and anti-industry beliefs question modules and randomised the presentation of items within each module.

Prior to assessment of the two outcome measures at t1, participants ased to one of the four advocacy messages Looking to experiment via text additional questions related to proposed mechanisms of inoculation i. Items were from Niederdeppe et al. The exact wording of our survey items and their corresponding response scales are provided in Additional file 3.

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We performed chi-square for categorical variables and analysis of variance for continuous variables tests to assess whether random asment to message condition yielded equivalent demographic groups. We used linear regression to test for differences between message conditions in a target policy support, b anti-industry beliefs, and c average non-target policy support at t1 and t2 respectively.

Models presented in the tables use the control message condition as the reference category; where the standard advocacy message is the comparison RQ3we re-ran the models with the Standard condition as the reference category findings reported in text only. We included of days elapsed between surveys as a covariate in the t2 analyses as evidence suggests inoculation effects begin to decay after two weeks [ 10 ]. We initially ran all models including interaction terms between message condition and health policy asment and conducted a global test of the ificance of this interaction after each model.

As none were ificant, we omitted these interaction terms from the final models and interpreted message effects as equivalent across policies. However, we included health policy asment as a covariate in all models. Means and standard deviations for each outcome measure at t1 and t2 by message condition and health policy asment are provided in a supplementary table Looking to experiment via text Additional file 4.

None of these interactions were statistically ificant, so for brevity these are not reported. Contrary to expectations based on theory, the presence of a narrative in the advocacy message did not reduce counter-arguing of the message. We observed these declines across all conditions; the difference between t1 and t2 means ranged from 0. Our suggest that advocacy messages incorporating inoculation or narrative components can increase public resilience to subsequent anti-policy messages.

There was limited evidence of immediate effects of the inoculation and narrative messages above and beyond a message about the size and seriousness of the health issue i. While this finding may appear disappointing at first glance, it does highlight the need to consider experimental des that accommodate exposure to competing arguments and assessment of responses at multiple time points relative to initial, single message exposure when testing the potential impact of advocacy messages in the real world. As noted earlier, public debates about policies targeting powerful industries like the sugary drink and alcohol industries are almost certain to feature widespread exposure to anti-policy arguments propagated by these industries.

It is therefore essential to identify message strategies that are successful at countering these anti-policy arguments over time. Our observation that narrative messages provided resistance to a subsequent anti-policy message runs counter to one study [ 20 ] but is congruent with other experimental work showing delayed persuasive effects of fictional narratives, albeit in the absence of competition from opposing messages [ 1516 ]. It is possible that the strong performance of the narrative messages in the present study stems from the fact they induced increased levels of perceived threat to freedom among participants as per the inoculation message.

While the narrative messages were not intentionally deed to influence perceptions of threat to freedom, they may have prompted this response from participants due to the mother describing how her efforts to protect her daughter were being undermined by industry marketing.

However, as all Looking to experiment via text received the industry anti-policy message at t2, we are unable to separate out protective effects from persuasive effects that grow over time. The mode of delivery may also have been a contributing factor, with suggestions that audio narrative messages are better able to evoke emotions and transport audiences into the story compared to print-based messages, which may be more conducive to rational processing [ 17 ].

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Research that involves manipulation of both the delivery channel and timing of subsequent exposure to the competing message is needed to better understand the comparative short- and long-term effects of print- and audio-based narrative messages in the face of opposing arguments. Overall, policy support and anti-industry beliefs were lower following exposure to the industry anti-policy message at t2. In general, public opinion is most strongly influenced by the framing of the most recently received message, with the influence of earlier message frames diminishing over time [ 32 ].

From this study, there does not appear to be any value in including both inoculation and narrative components within the one advocacy message. It is possible that the combined message did not provide the same protective effect for anti-industry beliefs as the separate inoculation message due to it prompting increased counter-arguing of the advocacy message.

The combined message was also around six minutes long and so those exposed to it may have been more easily distracted or more challenged by the task of processing all the differing message elements compared to those exposed to shorter, less cognitively demanding messages.

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While the literature suggests that longer text narratives are more effective than short text narratives, similar differences in persuasive impact based on message length are not apparent for audio-based narratives i. Further, the influence of message length on the effectiveness of inoculation messages remains unknown, with no studies examining the role of this factor in resistance.

Future experiments testing inoculation messages should consider des that enable the effects of message length to be explored. There was limited evidence that using inoculation and narrative strategies would provide additional benefit over and above standard pro-policy arguments in garnering public support for policy change when competing against strong industry opposition. However, while the standard advocacy message alone did not protect against the anti-policy message undoing otherwise unfavourable beliefs about the industry, the messages that also included the narrative or inoculation elements did protect against this.

Looking to experiment via text

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