june 2011

A qualitative study of college student responses to conflicting messages in advertising: anti-binge drinking public service announcements versus wine promotion health messages

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate how college students deal with conflicting health messages in advertising regarding binge drinking and wine promotion.

METHOD: Phenomenological in-depth long interviews were conducted beyond the point of redundancy (N = 16).

RESULTS: The results of this study indicated that students' meaning making regarding the conflicting messages relied greatly upon how consistent either message was with their prior beliefs about alcohol. Additionally, not all students perceived the messages to be contradictory; these students saw the messages as being constructed for different purposes and as such incomparable. Overall, students who perceived conflict responded to the topic with apathy fueled by advertising skepticism.

CONCLUSION: Employing qualitative methodology to understand how college students respond to conflicting messages will assist health promotion practitioners develop more effective alcohol abuse prevention messages and provide suggestions for researchers for studying this phenomenon from other perspectives in the future. Implications are further discussed within.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Ahn H.Y.; Wu L.; Kelly S.; Haley E.
  • Issue

    Int.J.Public Health / pages 271-279 / volume 56
  • Published Date

    june 2011