The Role of Theory in Developing Effective Antidrug
Public Service Announcements
Martin Fishbein, Joseph Cappella, Robert Hornik
University of Pennsylvania
City University of New York
Marco Yzer and R. Kirkland Ahern
University of Pennsyivania
During the past decade there has been a growing recognition of the usefulness of theory in the development of behavior change interventions (see e.g., National Institutes of Health [NIH], 1997). Theories of behavioral prediction and behavior change are useful because they provide a framework to help identify the determinants of any given behavior, an essential first step in the development of successful interventions to change that behavior. Clearly, the more one knows about the factors underlying a decision to perform or not perform a given behavior, the greater is the probability that one can design an intervention that will successfully influence that decision. The purpose of this chapter is to show the relevance of behavioral theory for developing messages to prevent and reduce illicit drug use. It is important to recognize, however, that although behavioral theories can identify the critical beliefs underlying a given behavior, they do not tell us how to change those beliefs.