The Effectiveness of Social Norm Appeals on Promoting COVID-19 Prevention Behaviors: A Multistudy Examination

Rain Wuyu Liu, Ying Cheng, Juliana L. Barbati, Stephen A. Rains, Tracy E. Crane, Kacey C. Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent research shows social norm perceptions predict people’s adherence to COVID-19 preventative health practices. Nonetheless, additional empirical studies are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of different types of social norm messages on behavioral outcomes with experimental designs. Guided by the social norm literature and frameworks, the current research addresses this need by examining the effects of descriptive and injunctive norm appeals promoting the practice of social distancing and mask-wearing with both a controlled experiment and social media campaigns. Results from this multistudy investigation showed the effectiveness of descriptive and injunctive norm messages (v. no message exposure) in promoting focal behaviors and highlighted the superiority of injunctive norm appeals in promoting behavioral intentions and increasing social media engagement. Theoretical implications and recommendations for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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