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Health Commun. 2015;30(7):669-79. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2014.894425. Epub 2014 Aug 4.

Get real: how current behavior influences perceptions of realism and behavioral intent for public service announcements.

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  • 1a Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


This research examined how realism and current behavior influence message reception and processing for public service announcements (PSAs) designed to help parents with meal planning. Findings from 19 in-depth interviews revealed that the perceived realism of the message, the similarity, and the wishful identification with informants' lives influenced message acceptance, in line with the Message Interpretation Process (MIP) model. Results of an online survey with mothers show that realism matters more for those individuals who already engage in the featured behavior. In line with theory, "experts" (meal planners) show increased behavioral intent of the featured behaviors when viewing the more realistic PSA.

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