The Role of Matching Construal Level and Social Distance in Young Drivers’ Changes of Attitude and Behavior toward Texting While Driving

Dong Jae (Jay) Lim (Grady PhD Student), Jhih-Syuan Lin, and UnChae Chung. The Role of Matching Construal Level and Social Distance in Young Drivers’ Changes of Attitude and Behavior toward Texting While Driving. Paper to presented at 2017 Meeting of the American Academy of Advertising, Boston, MA., March, 2017.

Abstract: This study examines message strategies of PSAs that can effectively discourage young adults from texting while driving. We test the effect of matching young adults’ perceived social distance and construal levels in processing PSAs on perceived threat, attitude toward texting while driving, and intentions to engage in preventive behavior. The study reveals significant persuasive effect of matching the mention of one’s close/distant social relationship and the concrete/abstract visual presentation of the outcome of distracted driving. Theoretical and managerial implications for communication campaigns using fear appeals and aiming at changing young adults’ perceptions, attitudes and behavior toward risky behaviors are discussed.

Dong Jae (Jay) Lim  Jhih-Syuan (Elaine) Lin