Effective Media Strategies for Drug Abuse Prevention

  • Donohew, Robert (CoI)
  • Lorch, Elizabeth (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


This proposed study represents an extension of a successful research program funded by NIDA on improving the effectiveness of mass media in drug abuse prevention campaigns, and will serve to inform ONDCP's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Within the context of that campaign tho study will provide a stringent and externally valid test of highly promising strategies for increasing the persuasive effectiveness of televised anti-drug PSAs. These strategies revolve around the effective design and targeting of PSAs to reach high sensation seeking adolescents. Sensation seeking, a trait characterized by novelty seeking and risk taking, is related to use of a variety, of substances by adolescents and with distinct preferences for novel and arousing messages. The study will examine the effectiveness of the televised PSA portion of the ONDCP campaign in persuading its primary target audience of at-risk, high sensation seeking adolescents to reduce initiation and use of the two substances to receive greatest emphasis-marijuana and inhalants. The study will involve a field experiment in two comparable top 75 Nielsen markets and will employ an innovative and methodologically rigorous controlled time-series design. With cooperation and resources from ONDCP, the study will employ a series of high saturation month PSA campaigns alternately focusing on marijuana in one community and inhalants in the other, separated by 6-month periods of much lower PSA saturation. Over the 48-month period encompassing these campaigns, the study will monitor PSA exposure, drug-related attitudes and behaviors, as well as protective and risk factors (particularly sensation seeking), through interviews with monthly random samples from adolescent cohorts in the two communities. The principal objectives of the study are: 1) To test the ability of focused high saturation televised PSA campaigns to reach at-risk adolescents; 2) to provide a controlled longitudinal test of the ability of such campaigns to produce significant changes in patterns of drug-related attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and behaviors over a 4-year period; 3) to explore the ability of low saturation campaigns to sustain the impact of the focused campaigns; 4) to investigate how protective and risk factors, (particularly sensation seeking), and level of PSA exposure moderate campaign effects; and 5) to examine how PSA sensation value (a message's ability to elicit sensory, affective, and arousal responses) is related to campaign effectiveness with high and low sensation seekers.
Effective start/end date9/30/988/31/05


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