Research Shows Style And Content Both Matter In Health Campaigns
The recent work of Hillary Shulman, assistant professor, and Olivia Bullock, graduate student, found that style is as important as content in health campaigns.
The study, which focused on changing female college students' decisions on sunbathing, composed four messages of identical length with different combinations of language difficulty and message relevance.
The young women who read the message with low language difficulty and high relevance were more likely to judge skin cancer as a severe tanning-associated risk, consider themselves susceptible to cancer, and indicate a behavioral intention not to soak up the rays in the future.
The study also demonstrated through an unexpected result just how important the psychology of message consumption can be: When the language was easy to understand and the message was perceived by the college students as relevant to them, participants found the information harder to process.
These findings showcase the importance of strategically crafting content according to different audiences.
Read more about Shulman and Bullock’s research in Ohio State News.