Effects of message framing and temporal context on college student drinking behavior

Mary A. Gerend*, Margaret Cullen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study evaluated the interactive effects of message framing and temporal context on college student alcohol use. Participants (n = 228) were randomly assigned to read an alcohol prevention message that varied by message frame (gains vs. losses) and temporal context (short- vs. long-term consequences). Participants returned to the lab one month later to report their drinking behavior over the past month. As predicted, students exposed to the gain-framed message reported lower alcohol use (drank less frequently, drank fewer alcoholic beverages per drinking occasion, and engaged in less binge drinking) as compared to students exposed to the loss-framed message, but only if they read about short-term consequences of alcohol use. Message frame had no effect when participants were exposed to long-term consequences. This investigation extends previous research by demonstrating the effectiveness of message framing for reducing health-damaging behaviors and by identifying temporal context as a moderator of framing effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1167-1173
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Message framing
  • Risk behavior
  • Temporal context

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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