Health message quality is best understood in terms of a message’s ability to effectively produce change in the variables that it was designed to change. The importance of determining a message’s effectiveness in producing change prior to implementation is clear: The better a message’s potential effectiveness is understood, the better able interventionists are to distinguish effective from ineffective messages before allocating scarce resources to message implementation. For this purpose, research has relied on perceived message effectiveness measures as a proxy of a message’s potential effectiveness. Remarkably, however, very little conceptual work has been done on perceived message effectiveness, which renders its measures underinformed and inconsistent across studies. To encourage greater conceptual work on this important construct, we review several threats to the validity of existing measures and consider strategies for improving our understanding of perceived message effectiveness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Preparation of this article was supported by grant 1R21DA024430-01 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. R.H.N. acknowledges support from the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Grant (2 K12-HD055887) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, the Office of Research on Women’s Health, and the National Institute on Aging, administered by the University of Minnesota Deborah E. Powell Center for Women’s Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.