Campaigns and cliques: Variations in effectiveness of an antismoking campaign as a function of adolescent peer group identity

Meghan Moran, Sheila T. Murphy, Steve Sussman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Identity-based strategies have been suggested as a way to promote healthy behaviors when traditional approaches fall short. The truth® campaign, designed to reduce smoking in adolescents, is an example of a campaign that uses such a strategy to reach youth described as being outside the mainstream. This article examines the effectiveness of this strategy in promoting antitobacco company beliefs among youth. Survey data from 224 adolescents between 14 and 15 years of age were used to examine whether the truth® campaign was more or less effective at reaching and promoting antitobacco company beliefs among youth who identify with nonmainstream crowds (deviants and counterculture) versus those who identify with mainstream crowds (elites and academics). Analyses revealed that adolescents who identified as deviants and counterculture were more likely to have been persuaded by the truth® campaign. Social identity theory is used as a theoretical framework to understand these effects and to make recommendations for future health campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1215-1231
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Communication

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