Effects of Promotional Messages on Intention to do Exercise
The aim of this project was to investigate health-based and social-norm based promotional messages and gender, to see how they interact to affect college students’ intention to perform physical activity and exercise.
College students are not completing sufficient amounts of physical activity to gain from the associated physical and psychological health benefits. Current strategies often aim to increase knowledge on the health benefits of regular physical activity. However, recent research suggests the potential effectiveness of using social norms to promote college students’ intention to perform physical activity. Social norms are the perceived appropriateness and value of behaviours in society. Individuals who believe that meeting the recommended amounts of physical activity is the “norm”, could adopt a view that this behaviour is socially desirable and increase their physical activity. 102 participants completed the Theory of Planned Behaviour Questionnaire after viewing either no message, a health message or a social norm message, to determine if message type had a significant effect on the students’ intention to perform physical activity.
A significant difference between the health message and no message group (p=.008) and the social norm message and no message group (p<.001) was found. This supports previous findings that promotional messages can increase intention to perform physical activity. The findings of this study highlight the potential use of social norm based messages to increase intention to perform physical activity.