Comparing the effectiveness of affective and cognitive messages for improving attitudes and intentions to take breaks from sitting at home and at work
MetadataShow full item record
There is a lack of evidence regarding the types of messages that are effective in combating the growing issue of sedentary behaviour among adults. The purpose of the study presented in this thesis was to test the effectiveness of affective, cognitive, and control messages for improving adults’ attitudes and intentions to take breaks from sitting at home and at work. The study also sought to understand whether a match or a mismatch between message type (affective, cognitive) and participant attitude basis (affective, cognitive) resulted in greater attitude change. Two-hundred and ninety-one working adults were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants completed a pre-message questionnaire that assessed leisure-time physical activity, sitting time and habit, break frequency, perceived behavioural control (PBC), social norms, intentions, and overall, structural, and meta-cognitive attitudes towards breaks from sitting at home and at work. Participants were then randomly assigned to one of three message conditions before completing the post-message questionnaire that reassessed all attitudes, intentions, PBC, and social norms, as well as need for affect and need for cognition. ANCOVAs and repeated-measures ANOVAs were used to explore differences between the conditions and domains, respectively. Regressions were used to test for matching/mismatching effects. Study findings indicate that there was a significant difference between the affective and control conditions on intention change (home; p<0.05), such that participants in the affective condition showed significantly greater intention change (home) compared to participants in the control condition. There were no significant differences between the affective and control conditions on the remaining attitude and intention change variables (ps>0.05), nor any significant differences between the affective and cognitive conditions on any of the attitude and intention change variables (ps>0.05). In addition, there were no significant differences between domains in attitude or intention change (ps>0.05). Finally, regressions revealed a relative matching effect for attitudes (home), such that of participants with an affectively-based attitude, those exposed to an affective message had significantly greater positive attitude change compared to those exposed to a cognitive message (p<0.05), but there was no significant difference in attitude change (home) in response to the different messages in those with cognitively-based attitudes (p>0.05). No effects were found for attitudes (work; p>0.05). Future studies should test the impact of these messages on behaviour.