Anti-alcohol campaigns effects depending on target drinking levels and source perception


  • Milena Stanojlovic CU Villanueva - UCM
  • Ana Cancela Centro Universitario Villanueva
  • Miguel A. M. Cárdaba Centro Universitario Villanueva
  • Ubaldo Cuesta Universidad Complutense de Madrid


Palabras clave:

anti-alcohol campaigns, alcohol prevention, media effects, message source, persuasive message


Alcohol consumption represents a major problem for public health. As a consequence, there is a growing interest in understanding which communication strategies have the ability to increase the persuasive power of anti-alcohol campaigns. Many designers of health campaigns use both actors and real people interchangeably to deliver their messages. Nevertheless, little is known regarding which of these two types of message sources are more persuasive. Aim & Methodology. In this study, we used an experimental design to explore the effect of recipients’ perceptions of the message source (presented as either real people or actors) on their drinking intentions. Results. We observed a significant difference in the drinking intentions as an effect of our manipulation, depending on previous recipients’ drinking levels. Heavy consumers were more readily persuaded by the real source message. In contrast, light consumers showed less drinking intentions after receiving the message from the fictional source than from the real one. Conclusions. This indicates that in the context of anti-alcohol campaigns, the same strategy could have both positive and negative effects simultaneously on different target groups. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.

Biografía del autor/a

Milena Stanojlovic, CU Villanueva - UCM

Milena Stanojlović obtained her Ph.D. in Health Communication from Complutense University of Madrid. Her work was primarily focused on evaluating the impact of anti-alcohol campaigns and exploring people's underlying defensive responses. Milena's interests include disease prevention and health promotion, as well as supporting research for scientifically sound and effective health programs.

Ana Cancela, Centro Universitario Villanueva

Ana Cancela, associate proffessor at Centro Universitario Villanueva (UCM) obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology from Autónoma University of Madrid. Her research focuses on persuasion and attitude change. Ana's interests include healthy attitudes and behaviour promotion.

Miguel A. M. Cárdaba, Centro Universitario Villanueva

Miguel A. M Cárdaba, associate proffessor at Centro Universitario Villanueva (UCM) obtained his PhD in Communication Science from Complutense University of Madrid. His research focuses mainly on the contents, uses and consequences of persuasive messages

Ubaldo Cuesta, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Professor Ubaldo Cuesta has a Ph.D. in Psychology, specialized in Social Psychology in Communication. He is the Head of the Department of Audiovisual Communication and Marketing II, at the Complutense University of Madrid. He is also a director of Master programs in Health Communication and a board member of the State Council for Drug Addictions.


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