Mass Media and Drug Prevention: Classic and Contemporary Theories and Research

Mass Media and Drug Prevention: Classic and Contemporary Theories and Research

Mass Media and Drug Prevention: Classic and Contemporary Theories and Research

Mass Media and Drug Prevention: Classic and Contemporary Theories and Research

Synopsis

This book tells the story of the mass media's potential in the war against drug abuse. It is based on scientific evidence on the use of media in health promotion and disease prevention. Past approaches--successes and failures alike--are included to help enlighten future programs of research and practice. Advice about the logical steps that must be taken to help alleviate the crisis of drug abuse is featured throughout. The book will appeal to social scientists interested in persuasion and the media Each chapter offers information to help the conscientious practitioner maximize persuasive effects of a mass-mediated presentation.

Excerpt

The mass media have been used extensively for communicating drug abuse prevention messages to the public throughout the history of the drug abuse problem in the United States. With its rather checkered history—the “reefer madness” of the 1930s and the “scare tactics” of the 1970s—the mass media have not always met expectations as effective prevention tools. In fact, research on the drug information campaigns of the 1970s found little evidence of media effectiveness in preventing drug abuse. Indeed, some were concerned that these campaigns might have been counter-productive; they hypothesized that the campaigns inadvertently might have introduced children to information about drugs long before they would encounter them in their lives, and suggested much greater usage than was actually true. Indeed, as is shown in this volume, a major thrust in many drug prevention efforts today is to inform adolescents of the nonnormative nature of drug use in their age group.

With the limited exposure provided by public service advertising campaigns, and the challenging methodological problems that all mass media research entails, many of which are described in this volume (e.g., see Flay & Sobel, 1983, on attempting to control for external influences, and the proper interpretation of media-based research results), there was little to encourage research in this area. In the 1990s. however, there was a resurgence in research interest in media effects, and attention turned to how best to design campaigns and measure the impact of media in preventing substance abuse behaviors. Based on rigorous research paradigms similar to those used in school- and family-based prevention intervention research, and despite daunting methodological and logistical problems, some successful research models in substance abuse campaigns emerged (e.g., Donohew. Lorch, & Palmgreen, 1991; Flynn et al., 1994; Palmgreen, Donohew, & Lorch, 1995). These studies, in turn, have served as models for considerable research today. Although the logistical problems have not gone away, the methodological sophistication of cur-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.