Target audience ratings of the likely impact of persuasive messages, known as perceived message effectiveness (PME), are commonly used in health communication campaigns. However, applications of PME rely on a critical assumption—that is, that PME is a valid indicator of the likely effectiveness of messages. To examine the evidence supporting this assumption, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies in the tobacco education campaigns literature. Six longitudinal studies examining the predictive validity of PME met inclusion criteria. Results indicated that PME ratings were significantly associated with the majority of outcomes studied. In fact, each of the six studies found PME to be associated with at least one outcome, and across the six studies, PME was associated with message recall, conversations about ads, beliefs about smoking and quitting smoking, quit intentions, and cessation behavior. Meta-analyses demonstrated that PME predicted quit intentions (r = .256, p < .001) and cessation behavior (r = .201, p < .001), revealing effects that were small to medium in magnitude. Our results suggest that PME provides some predictive value as to the likely effectiveness of messages, although additional work using different validation designs, with other health behaviors, and among other populations is needed.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural