HIV/AIDS prevention public service announcements: The effects of source similarity and consensus information on behavioral intention compliance

Date of Completion

January 1999


Business Administration, Marketing|Psychology, Behavioral|Psychology, Social|Health Sciences, Public Health|Mass Communications




In two experiments, social comparison theory and attribution theory were applied to HIV/AIDS public service announcements (PSAs) to improve the context in which HIV prevention messages were presented. In one experiment manipulating spokesperson similarity and in one manipulating the number of spokespersons, it was predicted that HIV/AIDS PSAs with a similar spokesperson or multiple spokespersons (i.e., a consensus presentation) would be perceived as more credible and believable than a dissimilar or individual spokesperson, respectively. Communicator credibility and believability were expected to be the key mediators linking context of the message to behavioral intentions. Using causal modeling, it was found that similar spokespersons were perceived as more credible and believable than dissimilar spokespersons, but behavioral intentions were not affected. The consensus manipulation did not have a significant effect on credibility or behavioral intentions through the mediators as expected. Both studies addressed the problem of HIV/AIDS PSAs affecting attitudes, not HIV risk-reduction behavioral intentions. ^