Perceived message sensation value (PMSV) and the dimensions and validation of a PMSV scale

Health Commun. 2002;14(4):403-28. doi: 10.1207/S15327027HC1404_1.


Sensation seeking has been linked to drug abuse and risky behaviors, and is positively associated with preferences for messages high in sensation value (i.e., perceived to be highly novel, arousing, dramatic, or intense). This suggests the utility of valid and reliable measures of perceived message sensation value (PMSV) in research on information processing, persuasion, and reducing risk-related behaviors. Dimensions and construct validity of a 17-item PMSV scale were examined via 2 studies: 1 of 368 high school students' reactions to televised antimarijuana public service announcements (PSAs) and one of 444 college students' responses to televised anticocaine PSAs. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses indicated 3-dimensional solutions for the PMSV scale were nearly identical for high sensation seeking (HSS) and low sensation seeking (LSS) respondents in Study 1 and HSS respondents in Study 2. Total scale alphas were .87 for Study 1 and .93 for Study 2. The PMSV scale and its dimensions (Emotional Arousal, Dramatic Impact, Novelty) were positively correlated with affective response measures in both studies for HSS and LSS. Study 1 also examined cognitive, narrative, and sensory PSA processing, which were found to be positively associated with total PMSV and the Arousal and Dramatic Impact dimensions of PSMV for both HSS and LSS.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / prevention & control
  • Motivation*
  • Personality*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sensation
  • Social Marketing*
  • United States