Date of Completion


Embargo Period



theory of planned behavior, Alcoholics Anonymous, denial, cultivation

Major Advisor

C. Arthur VanLear

Associate Advisor

Mark Hamilton

Associate Advisor

Amanda Denes

Field of Study

Communication Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, there were approximately 17 million adults that suffered from an alcohol use disorder in 2012. Alcoholics Anonymous is a popular intervention for people with alcohol use disorders and has nearly 1.3 million members currently working towards, and maintaining their sobriety. These figures demonstrate the strong need for effective communication targeting individuals with alcohol use disorders. As such, it is important to look at ways to design messages that will increase the attendance of relevant populations at Alcoholics Anonymous in order to decrease the population affected by alcoholism. Based on the theory of planned behavior, messages targeting variables that impact intention will be most persuasive. This study looked at how the addition of personal and vicarious (relational and cultivated) experiences to the theory of planned behavior impacted intention to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Results indicated that although cultivated experience was not predictive of the salient beliefs, personal and relational experiences significantly contributed to the theory of planned behavior model.