Recent technological advances have increased the interest and ability of lay audiences to create messages; however, the feasibility of incorporating lay multimedia messages into health campaigns has seldom been examined. Drawing on the principle of cultural grounding and narrative engagement theory, this article seeks to examine what types of messages adolescents believe are most effective in persuading their peers to resist substance use and to provide empirical data on the extent to which audience-generated intervention messages are consistent with the associated campaign philosophy and branding. Data for the current study are prevention messages created by students as part of a four-lesson substance use prevention "booster" program delivered to eighth-grade students in 20 rural schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio during 2010-2011. Content analysis results indicate that didactic message strategies were more common in audience-generated messages than narrative strategies, although strategy was somewhat dependent on the medium used. Two of the most common strategies that adolescents used to persuade peers not to use substances were negative consequences and identity appeals, and messages varied in the degree to which they were consistent with the theoretical underpinnings and program philosophy of the prevention campaign. Implications of the current study for understanding the social construction of substance use prevention messages among adolescents and incorporating audience-generated messages in health communication campaigns are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)