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Investigating single- versus multiple-source approaches to communicating health messages via an online simulation

In Australia a study was conducted to assess whether exposing drinkers to information about the alcohol-cancer link via multiple and diverse sources in an online simulation produces larger improvements in attitudes and intentions relative to exposure to a single source of information.

A total of 2087 study respondents who reported consuming alcohol at least twice per month were allocated to either a single-source (20%) or multiple-source condition (80%) and alcohol-related behavioural intentions were assessed pre exposure and post exposure.

Attitudes toward the messages (believability, convincingness, and personal relevance) and behavioural intentions (extent to which participants believed that they should and would reduce their alcohol consumption and their intention to consume 5 or more drinks in a single session) were assessed.

The study found that the source condition was significantly associated with all 3 attitudinal variables (P < .001). Those exposed to an alcohol warning statement from multiple sources found the message more believable, convincing, and personally relevant compared to those exposed to a warning statement via a single source. They also reported significantly greater change pre exposure to post exposure on the 2 behavioural beliefs that they should, and would reduce their current alcohol consumption (P < .001). Those in the multiple-source condition also reported reduced intentions to consume 5 or more standard drinks in a single sitting.

The researchers’ findings from the online simulation provide support for the suggestion that integrated approaches involving the combination of multiple sources to deliver a message produce superior outcomes compared to relying on a single source (eg, warning labels on alcoholic beverages).

Source: Investigating single- versus multiple-source approaches to communicating health messages via an onlinesimulation. Jongenelis MI; Pettigrew S; Wakefield M; Slevin T; Pratt IS; Chikritzhs T; Liang W.American Journal of Health Promotion, Published early online 3 November 2016

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