Antismoking Threat and Efficacy Appeals: Effects on Smoking Cessation Intentions for Smokers with Low and High Readiness to Quit

J Appl Commun Res. 2009;37(1):1-20. doi: 10.1080/00909880802593928.


This study examined the effects of sequencing different types of antismoking threat and efficacy appeals on smoking cessation intentions for smokers with low and high levels of readiness to quit. An experiment was done to test predictions based on Witte's (1992) Extended Parallel Process Model and research by Cho and Salmon (2006). A national probability sample of 555 adult smokers was recruited to take part in this study. Results found a positive two-way interaction effect between message threat and perceived level of message efficacy on intentions to seek help for quitting. A three-way interaction effect was found between message threat, perceived level of message efficacy, and readiness to quit on quitting intentions. Both threat and efficacy were important for smokers with low readiness to quit, whereas efficacy was most important among smokers with high readiness to quit. Implications of the results for antismoking campaigns are discussed along with limitations and future directions.