Culture as a Moderator of Inoculation Success: The Effectiveness of a Mainstream Inoculation Message on a Subculture Population

By Bobi Ivanov, Kimberly A. Parker, Claude H. Miller and Michael Pfau.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This investigation tested the effectiveness of inoculation messages designed for a mainstream American audience but incongruent with the message processing patterns of the recipient’s subculture. A three-phase experiment was conducted involving 178 participants to assess the efficacy of reason-based (cognitive) and emotion-based (affective) inoculation messages applied to either members of the predominant (mainstream) culture or to an Asian subculture. The results demonstrate the ability of inoculation to protect attitudes even when the messages are not customized to the message processing patterns of the specific culture. However, the inoculation messages (both cognitive and affective) are significantly more effective in conferring resistance when their design corresponds to the message processing patterns of the subculture.

Keywords: Attitude Inoculation, Message Processing, Persuasion, Resistance, Subculture

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.1-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 835.253KB).

Bobi Ivanov

Assistant Professor, School of Journalism & Telecommunications, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Bobi Ivanov (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is an Assistant Professor in Integrated Strategic Communication at the University of Kentucky. His research interests concern message processing, persuasion, and resistance. His scholarship has appeared in book and journal publications such as Communication Monographs, Communication Research, The International Journal of the Image, Health Communication, Central Business Review, and The International Journal of the Arts in Society. He has received a “Distinguished Article Award” for a publication appearing in Communication Monographs.

Kimberly A. Parker

Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Kimberly A. Parker (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication at Bellarmine University. Her research interests concern message processing, resistance to influence, and adolescent romantic and sexual communication. Her scholarship has appeared in publications such as Health Communication, The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Central Business Review, Human Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Communication Quarterly, The International Journal of the Image, and Communication Studies.

Claude H. Miller

Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Claude H. Miller (Ph.D., University of Arizona) is an Associate Professor in Communication at the University of Oklahoma. His work investigates human affective responses to influence messages in various contexts by applying emotion, motivation, and social influence theories to a range of communication settings, with special emphasis on mass mediated message designs targeting adolescent, elderly, and minority populations. His principle research areas include the effects of psychological reactance and the restoration of freedom on health promotion and risk prevention messages, and the effects of regulatory focus and subliminally induced mortality salience on social influence processes. His work has appeared in Human Communication Research, Health Communication, The Electronic Journal of Communication, Communication Research Reports, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Social Cognition, Communication Monographs, forthcoming in the journal Disasters, and in book chapters on communication and terrorism, and on the use of multimedia tools to test health promotion and prevention messages. He is presently the vice chair of the Communication and Social Cognition Division of the National Communication Association (NCA), where he has presented three award winning conference papers, and he is a recipient of NCA’s Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Michael Pfau

Chair and Professor, Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Michael Pfau (Ph.D., University of Arizona, deceased) was the Chair and Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Oklahoma. His research interests concerned the influence of mass media communication and resistance to influence, particularly the uses of inoculation. Pfau co-authored and/or edited seven books. The most recent include: Mediating the Vote: The Changing Media Landscape in U.S. Presidential Campaigns (2007, Rowman and Littlefield) and The Handbook of Persuasion: Theory and Practice (2002, Sage). He authored or co-authored more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. His publications have won the National Communication Association (NCA) Communication and Social Cognition Division’s “Distinguished Book Award” and “Distinguished Article Award,” and NCA’s “Golden Anniversary Monographs Award.”

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