The relationship between implicit and explicit believability of exercise-related messages and intentions

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  • Abstract: Objective: This research explored whether implicit or explicit believability of exercise advertising predicted attitudes and intentions. It was hypothesized that implicit believability would be a stronger predictor of attitudes than explicit believability and that implicit believability would predict intentions. Method: Undergraduate student participants (N = 306) viewed health promotion or appearance-based exercise-related advertisements. They completed an implicit believability task followed by questionnaires of issue involvement, attention paid to the advertisements, explicit believability, exercise attitudes, and intentions to exercise. Participants listed 5 thoughts they had when viewing the advertisements. Health and appearance models were tested using structural equation modeling. Thoughts were coded and valence (negative statements subtracted from positive), believability, and motivation indices were created. Correlations between indices and model variables were calculated. Results: Both models were good fits of the data. In the health condition, explicit believability did not predict attitudes or intentions but implicit believability predicted attitudes and explicit believability. In the appearance condition, implicit believability was negatively related to intentions, but was not related to explicit believability or attitudes. There were small positive correlations between attitudes and the thought-listing valence index in both conditions. Conclusions: The results indicate that exercise-related health promotion messages are believable and that the initial reaction to them coincides with reflective attitudes. However, if appearance messages are believed (even if not explicitly), the effects may be detrimental. It is important to include implicit measures in messaging research as they allow for a more complete understanding of how health messages may influence related cognitions.

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    © 2011 American Psychological Association. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Berry, T.R., Jones, K.E., McLeod, N.C., & Spence, J.C. (2011). The relationship between implicit and explicit believability of exercise-related messages and intentions. Health Psychology, 30(6), 746-752.
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