Does Perceived Message Effectiveness Predict the Actual Effectiveness of Tobacco Education Messages? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Seth M. Noar, Joshua Barker, Trevor Bell, Marco Yzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalHealth communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 28 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by R03DA041869 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the Food and Drug Administration. We thank Emily Brennan and Kevin Davis for providing additional data for the meta-analysis, as well as the two anonymous reviewers for their careful and thoughtful review. We also thank Dannielle Kelley for her contributions to this work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Dive into the research topics of 'Does Perceived Message Effectiveness Predict the Actual Effectiveness of Tobacco Education Messages? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this