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The effects of inoculation and narrative messages on texting and driving among college students

Sarah A. Geegan (Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Bobi Ivanov (Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Kimberly A. Parker (Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Stephen A. Rains (Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA)
John A. Banas (Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Article publication date: 11 August 2023

Issue publication date: 10 November 2023

238

Abstract

Purpose

Research is needed regarding how to influence young adults’ patterns of cell phone use while driving, amid social pressures to stay connected to their peers. Such insight could form the basis of a social marketing campaign. This study aims to explore the potential of inoculation and narrative messages as strategies to protect (i.e. generate resistance against) negative attitudes toward texting and driving.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a three-phase experiment, the investigation explored the impact of different communication message strategies (i.e. inoculation, narrative, control) aimed at reducing texting while driving.

Findings

Results indicated that, for college students exposed to messages in support of texting and driving, inoculation messages were superior to both narrative and control messages. These findings can guide the development of strategic social marketing interventions.

Practical implications

Social marketing scholars and practitioners should consider weaving inoculation messages throughout social marketing campaigns focused on this important issue.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate and compare inoculation and narrative strategies in the context of texting and driving.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors have no known conflict of interest to disclose.

Citation

Geegan, S.A., Ivanov, B., Parker, K.A., Rains, S.A. and Banas, J.A. (2023), "The effects of inoculation and narrative messages on texting and driving among college students", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 593-608. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSOCM-04-2023-0088

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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