Examining Normative Influence in Persuasive Health Messages: The Moderating Role of Identification With Other Parents
This study tests the interaction between an individual-level characteristic—identification with other parents—and the effects of persuasive messages about nutrition. In an online experiment conducted in 2010, 242 parents of children aged five through nine were randomized to a message condition. The parents were exposed to a message that emphasized normative justifications or personal benefit justifications for feeding one’s child healthy foods (or no message). Parents who identified with other parents were more influenced by normatively focused messages than were parents with lower levels of identification. Theoretical and practical implications for message design are presented.