The Effects of User Comment Valence of Social Media Health Campaigns on Intention to Vaccinate: The Role of Psychological Reactance
Paper to be presented to American Advertising Academy (AAA) conference, San Diego, CA.
Abstract: Given the prevalent use of social media in disseminating public service announcements (PSAs) encouraging healthy behavior, investigating the effects of user-generated comments alongside health messages became an important pursuit in the advertising and marketing scholarship. With this in mind, Facebook user-generated comments were examined in light of their effect on the social media users’ psychological reactance in conjunction with pre-existing attitude toward the flu vaccination. Such psychological reactance was later tested as a key mediating factor influencing behavioral intention to receive the vaccination. Results from an experimental study (N = 265) showed that for individuals with more positive (negative) pre-existing attitude toward the flu vaccine, exposure to dominantly negative (positive) comments about the vaccine generated stronger psychological reactance than dominantly positive (negative) comments. Moreover, greater reactance against the dominantly negative (positive) comments about the flu vaccine led to greater (lesser) intention to vaccinate. Collectively, the results demonstrate one theoretical mechanism through which social media users’ vaccination intention is influenced by exposure to user-generated comments about vaccines. Theoretical and managerial implications of the findings are discussed.
Youngjee Ko is also a co-author of this research.