C59. Atkin, C. K. & Rice, R. E. (2013). Advances in public communication campaigns. In E. Scharrer (Ed.), The international encyclopedia of media studies: Vol. 5: Media effects/Media psychology (pp. 526-551). London, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.


Public communication campaigns encompass strategies for producing effects on knowledge, attitudes and behavior of large populations across a variety of domains, including political, pro-social, environmental and health outcomes. The theories, designs, and impacts of media-based public campaigns have been summarized by Backer, Rogers, and Sopory (1992), Atkin (2001), Snyder and Hamilton (2002), Noar (2006), Abroms and Maibach (2008), and Rice and Atkin (2009).  This chapter focuses primarily on the role of media campaigns in health promotion, because political effects are covered elsewhere in this volume (Section V: In the Political Arena) and because the theory and literature on health campaign effects are far more advanced than for environmental and pro-social effects.  Furthermore, the chapter emphasizes persuasive aspects of campaigns, rather than highlighting awareness-oriented or instructionally-oriented campaign strategies.  Because the research literature indicates that campaigns typically have only limited direct effects on behaviors, a key priority throughout the chapter is to identify concepts, processes, and strategies for increasing the effectiveness of public communication campaigns.

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