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

Sarah A. Geegan, Bobi Ivanov, Kimberly A. Parker, Stephen A. Rains, John A. Banas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-608
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 10 2023


  • Applied communication
  • Inoculation theory
  • Interventions
  • Narrative theory
  • Social marketing
  • Texting and driving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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