College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

The Effects of Priming on a Public Health Campaign Targeting Cardiovascular Risks

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2011

Keywords

Priming, Cardiovascular Health, Public Health Campaign

Publication Title

Prevention Science

ISSN

1389-4986

Volume

12

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

Public health interventions are cost-effective methods to reduce heart disease. The present study investigated the impact of a low-cost priming technique on a public health campaign targeting cardiovascular risk. Participants were 415 individuals (66% female) ages 18 and older recruited through clinics and churches. The study consisted of three phases. In Phase I, participants completed a brief survey to assess knowledge of the cardiovascular health indicators. The survey served as the prime (intervention) for the study. At Phase II, participants were provided with access to a public health campaign consisting of an education brochure on cardiovascular health. Following the educational campaign, all participants completed a post-campaign survey in Phase III of the study. Participants who completed the surveys in both Phase I and III were placed in the intervention condition (26%) and those who only completed the Phase III survey were placed in the control condition (74%). Participants who were primed reported greater awareness of the public health campaign. Additionally, more intervention participants reported they had knowledge of their own and the normal ranges for cholesterol, glucose, and body mass index. For participants who were aware of the health promotion campaign, more participants in the primed group indicated they had knowledge of their own cholesterol and glucose levels and had made positive lifestyle changes as a result of the campaign. Results suggest the presence of a priming effect. Public health campaigns may benefit from the inclusion of a low-cost prime prior to intervention.

DOI

10.1007/s11121-011-0228-3