Journal Article

Testing the hierarchy of effects model: ParticipACTION's serial mass communication campaigns on physical activity in Canada

C. L. Craig, A. Bauman and B. Reger-Nash

in Health Promotion International

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 14-23
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online October 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Testing the hierarchy of effects model: ParticipACTION's serial mass communication campaigns on physical activity in Canada

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The hierarchy of effects (HOE) model is often used in planning mass-reach communication campaigns to promote health, but has rarely been empirically tested. This paper examines Canada's 30 year ParticipACTION campaign to promote physical activity (PA). A cohort from the nationally representative 1981 Canada Fitness Survey was followed up in 1988 and 2002–2004. Modelling of these data tested whether the mechanisms of campaign effects followed the theoretical framework proposed in the HOE. Campaign awareness was measured in 1981. Outcome expectancy, attitudes, decision balance and future intention were asked in 1988. PA was assessed at all time points. Logistic regression was used to sequentially test mediating and moderating variables adjusting for age, sex and education. No selection bias was observed; however, relatively fewer respondents than non-respondents smoked or were underweight at baseline. Among those inactive at baseline, campaign awareness predicted outcome expectancy which in turn predicted positive attitude to PA. Positive attitudes predicted high decision balance, which predicted future intention. Future intention mediated the relationship between decision balance and sufficient activity. Among those sufficiently active at baseline, awareness was unrelated to outcome expectancy and inversely related to positive attitude. These results lend support to the HOE model, in that the effects of ParticipACTION's serial mass media campaigns were consistent with the sequential rollout of its messages, which in turn was associated with achieving an active lifestyle among those initially insufficiently active. This provides support to an often-used theoretical framework for designing health promotion media campaigns.

Keywords: mass media; community intervention; population based; social marketing

Journal Article.  5008 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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