Public service advertising campaigns that use guilt or shame to warn against alcohol abuse can actually have the reverse effect, spurring increased drinking among target audiences, according to new research from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.
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Duhachek's research specifically explores anti-drinking ads that link to the many possible adverse results of alcohol abuse, such as blackouts and car accidents, while eliciting feelings of shame and guilt. Findings show such messages are too difficult to process among viewers already experiencing these emotions -- for example, those who already have alcohol-related transgressions.
To cope, they adopt a defensive mindset that allows them to underestimate their susceptibility to the consequences highlighted in the ads; that is, that the consequences happen only to "other people." The result is they engage in greater amounts of irresponsible drinking, according to respondents.
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