Background: Current alcohol product labelling tends to include ambiguous messages such as ‘drink responsibly’. Consumers who identify as responsible drinkers may not pay heed to health warning messages, believing that they are not the intended target.
Aims: We aimed to determine how responses to responsible drinking labels would differ from responses to positively and negatively framed health messages. We also explored if prototype perceptions would moderate the message impact.
Methods: A between groups, three arm (ambiguous, positive or negative messages) experiment recruited 465 participants. Outcomes were drinking intentions and label acceptability (novelty, believability, personal relevance, and potential to change behaviour). Measures of heavy and responsible drinker prototype perceptions were included for exploratory moderation analyses.
Results: Positive and negative messages were rated significantly more likely to change behaviour than ambiguous messages. There was also a moderation effect: participants with stronger favourability and similarity to the responsible drinker prototype intended to drink more alcohol in the future after exposure to negatively framed labels, but not after exposure to ambiguous or positively framed labels.
Discussion: ‘Drink responsibly’ messages are unlikely to lead to behaviour change. Incorporating theoretical moderators may have value in developing our understanding of the impact of alcohol product labelling.
Davies, Emma L.
Lewin, JoelField, Matt
Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development
Year of publication: 2022Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-09-21