From awareness to behaviour: Testing a hierarchy of effects model on the Australian Make Healthy Normal Campaign using mediation.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Preventive Medicine Reports, 2018, 12, pp. 140-147
Issue Date:
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The Make Healthy Normal mass media campaign was a three-year campaign launched in 2015 in New South Wales (NSW), Australia to address community norms around overweight and obesity. It was underpinned by a hierarchy of effects model; a commonly used framework in campaigns but one that has rarely been tested. The campaign evaluation included a cohort study of NSW adults, surveyed three times over 12 months (n = 939 at Wave 3). This study tested the campaign's hierarchy of effects model, which theorized that participants would move from recognition to behaviour change via understanding, knowledge, attitude, social norms, self-efficacy, and intention, using these data. We used the moderation and mediation of effects method proposed by Baron and Kenny, adjusting for age and sex, to test for progression through the hierarchy of effects for two outcomes: physical activity and fast food consumption. We found a clear progression through the theorized model, from recognition through to behaviour change, via the intermediate variables for both outcomes. We also found several effects not predicted by the theorized model, with consistently strong associations between understanding and attitude, understanding and self-efficacy, attitude and self-efficacy, and self-efficacy and behaviour change in both outcome models. Our study provides support for the hierarchy of effects as a conceptual model in campaign planning and evaluation of social marketing campaigns. To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare the hierarchy between two behavioural outcomes and the consistency observed between the models adds to the potential usefulness of the hierarchy of effects.
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