No use reasoning with adolescents? A randomised controlled trial comparing persuasive messages

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703273528
Title: No use reasoning with adolescents? A randomised controlled trial comparing persuasive messages
Author: Heino, Matti
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2016
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703273528
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/163800
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: Objective: Literature on persuasion suggests compliance increases when requests are accompanied with a reason (i.e. the 'because-heuristic'). Greater accelerometer wear-time enhances the reliability of outcomes in physical activity research. This study tested whether SMS reminders—especially those that provided a rationale—increased accelerometer wear-time. Methods: We conducted a within-trial RCT during baseline data collection in a school-based physical activity intervention trial. Of 375 participants (mean age=18.1), 280 (75%) opted to receive daily SMS reminders to wear their accelerometers. These 280 participants were then randomised to receive either succinct reminders or reminders including a rationale. Data was analysed using both frequentist and bayesian methods. Results: No differences in total accelerometer wear minutes were detected between the succinct reminder group (Mdn=4909, IQR=3429-5857) and the rationale group (Mdn=4808, IQR=3571-5743); W=8860, p=0.65, CI95=-280.90 - 447.20. Same was true for differences in wear time between participants receiving SMS reminders (Mdn=4859, IQR=3527-5808) and those not receiving them (Mdn=5067, IQR=3201-5885); W=10642.5, p=0.77, CI95=-424.20 - 305.30. Accumulated days of valid accelerometer wear data did not differ either. Bayesian analysis quantified the support for the null hypotheses. Conclusions: The because-heuristic might be limited to more personal communication methods, or be moderated by hidden factors such as motivation to participate. Alternative explanations also include operationalization failure, as we could not control if the messages were read. This study casts doubt on the effectiveness using the because-heuristic to promote accelerometer wear time, and this may be related to contextual factors not examined in this study.
Discipline: Social Psychology
Sosiaalipsykologia
Socialpsykologi


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