Title: Is anybody doing it? An experimental study of the effect of normative messages on intention to do physical activity
Authors: VAN BAVEL ReneESPOSITO GABRIELEBARANOWSKI Tom
Citation: BMC PUBLIC HEALTH vol. 14 p. 778
Publisher: BIOMED CENTRAL LTD
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC91179
ISSN: 1471-2458
URI: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/778
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC91179
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-778
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Background The study explores whether messages about the physical activity levels of the majority (i.e. normative messages) affect young adults' intention to engage in regular physical activity. Methods An experimental survey among 16 to 24 year-olds in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania (n = 1200) was conducted in March 2013. A control group received no message; one treatment group was told that the majority was physically active (positive message); and another treatment group was told that the majority was not physically active (negative message). Results Both the positive and (unexpectedly) the negative normative messages showed a significant and positive effect on intention to be physically active. There was no difference between the effects of the messages. Conclusions Normative messages affect intention, which is encouraging for public health campaigns. The effect of the positive message confirms previous findings on conformity to the norm; the effect of the negative message is unexpected and requires further research to be understood.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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