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Evaluation of a Mass Media Intervention

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I. Research Objectives and Hypothesis Tested

In the Scottish Road Safety “Foolsspeed” campaign that run from 1999 to 2001, the opportunity arose for the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to inform both the design of a large-scale (obviously supported by a mass media component) intervention and to enrich the evaluation criteria.

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The salient objectives included determining:

A.          Whether TPB was a valid measure of targeted behavior and campaign effectiveness.

B.           The effectiveness of three TV commercial versions that leveraged the three compon-ents of TPB: attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control (PBC).

II. Methodology/Type of Longitudinal Research

The baseline study, conducted in-home and face-to-face by professional market researchers, utilized a structured questionnaire that covered driver demographics, driving habits and measured attitudes and behavior according to all the elements of the TPB theoretical model.

As a longitudinal study, the survey was ran several times, in 1999, 2000 and 2001 though with the addition of measures of advertising impact as a key mediating variable.

III. Sampling Procedure

The other defining characteristic of a cohort longitudinal study is that the target audience for the campaign was a sub-sample of all drivers in Scotland.

  For the purposes of the study, “general driving population” was operationalized as 17-to-54-year-old drivers who possessed a valid license, drove at least once a week, and resided in Renfrew, found to have an “affluence/deprivation” profile representative of the general Scottish population.  As the sampling method was standard area probability sampling, albeit controlled for age and gender, the derived sample can validly be said to represent Renfrew drivers.

IV. Findings

A.    The TPB theoretical construct explained a good deal of the variance in intentions to speed and reported speeding behavior.

B.     In general, the preferred advertising approach created the desired impact more than explicit, dramatic and fear-arousing tactics.

C.     Among the three ad materials, “Mirror” (addressing the Attitude component of TPB) and “Simon Says” (targeting perceived ease of refraining from speeding) seemed to have made greater inroads in point of comprehension, empathy and receptivity to re-thinking the target viewer’s own attitudes.

D.    “Mirror” swung beliefs and attitudes in the desired directions up to the third year.

E.     Results for perceived attitudes of referents or significant others, for PBC and impact of the three campaigns on behavioral intentions and reported behavior were equivocal.

V. Limitations of the Study

A.    Not enough is known about how to use the TPB model to effect behavioral change.

B.     The research team ran out of time to adequately analyze the baseline study.

C.     The strategy of mounting three discrete TVC’s to address the key components of TPB may be flawed.

D.    Subjective Norms and PBC components may be resistant to change via advertising alone.

E.     Reported frequency of speeding is inherently flawed compared to measurable data.

F.      The authors embark on perilous circular reasoning when they attribute the reduced incidence of reported speeding behavior to being sensitized by exposure to the campaign.

G.    The study did not account for the interaction between the “Affective Belief” and “Attitude” components of TBP.

H.    Unaddressed was the question of whether social marketing theory should not fall back on simpler attitude-change models or improve behavior measurement beyond the narrow confines of self-report questionnaires and rating scales.


Stead, M., Tagg, S., MacKintosh A. M., & Eadie , D. (2005). Development and Evaluation of a Mass Media Theory of Planned Behavior Intervention to Reduce Speeding. Health Education Research, 20(1), 36-50.


Cite this Evaluation of a Mass Media Intervention

Evaluation of a Mass Media Intervention. (2016, Sep 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/evaluation-of-a-mass-media-intervention/

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