Is Involvement a Good Thing? The Undesirable Consequences of Topical and Conversational Involvement in the Context of Alcohol Consumption

Hanneke Hendriks, Marco Yzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Whereas there is evidence that interpersonal communication, or conversation, influences predictors of alcohol consumption, the role of involvement in conversation effects remains unclear. This study explored how three aspects of involvement (topical relevance, or how relevant the topic of alcohol is; conversational relevance, or how relevant a conversation about alcohol is; and conversational effort, or how much effort people put into such a conversation), influence conversation effects. After assessing topical relevance, 46 same-sex dyads were requested to talk about the negative consequences of heavy drinking. Within each dyad, one participant was asked to take on an active talking role and the other participant a passive listening role. Next, conversational relevance, effort, and predictors of heavy drinking were measured. Results showed that participants who drank more alcohol found the topic of heavy drinking more relevant. This topical relevance increased conversational relevance and conversational effort. Conversational effort further increased when a talking role was assigned. Furthermore, participants who put more effort in the conversation and found it more relevant had more positive norms, identified more strongly with alcohol, and had higher intentions to drink. These findings suggest that more involvement in an alcohol-related conversation does not always lead to desirable outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020

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  • Journal Article

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