Normative appeals: Understanding the effect of normative messages on the formation of intentions to get tested for HIV among Latinos in the United States

Peter Busse, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Theory and research have shown that perceptions of norms operate in people's behaviors. While communication can activate behavior, little is known about the cognitive process by which communication influences behavior through perceived norms. This dissertation tests a conceptual model that explains the effect of messages with normative appeals on people's intentions to get tested for HIV. This model is tested with a sample of Latinos in the United States, an understudied population in regards to HIV testing—a health behavior currently promoted to stop the spread of HIV. Two studies, conducted as part of the formative research, revealed that Latinos formed intentions to get tested for HIV based on perceived norms and that messages could be crafted using normative appeals. Results from the main study showed that exposure to normative appeal messages did not persuade Latinos to get tested for HIV and, contrary to what was expected, it created a boomerang effect conceptualized as anti-priming. Also, features of personal networks moderated—but contrary to expectations—the persuasive effect of these messages on perceived norms. Future research should focus on understanding the processes that are activated when normative appeal messages are used to create behavior change. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing|Speech Communication|Health Sciences, Public Health|Hispanic American Studies

Recommended Citation

Busse, Peter, "Normative appeals: Understanding the effect of normative messages on the formation of intentions to get tested for HIV among Latinos in the United States" (2011). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3475922.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3475922

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