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Bridging the gap : how message valence, type of spokesperson, and spokesperson’s gender in organ donation campaigns influence the intention to sign an organ donation card among young Germans

Koring, F. (2015) Bridging the gap : how message valence, type of spokesperson, and spokesperson’s gender in organ donation campaigns influence the intention to sign an organ donation card among young Germans.

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Abstract:Organ donation is one of the most discussed medical topics in Germany at the moment. Recent scandals including physicians who favored several patients for different reasons led to worldwide attention. But already before the scandals, the number of German organ donors was already low in comparison to other European countries like Spain or Croatia. An often used means of German health organizations in order to improve organ donation’s reputation and to increase the number of organ donors are organ donation campaigns. The low number of people who signed an organ donation card is especially observable for the group of young Germans between the age of 14 to 25. Whereas 80% belonging to this group have a positive attitude towards organ donation, only 23% do own an organ donation card. Because of that the target group of the current study were German’s who do not own an organ donation card in the age between 16 and 25. The present study investigated the effects of the campaign’s message valence, the presented type of spokesperson, and the spokesperson’s gender. A 2 (message valence: positive versus negative) x 2 (type of spokesperson: lay versus celebrity) x 2 (spokesperson’s gender: female versus male) experimental design was used in order to measure effects on the dependent variables attitude towards the campaign, personal distress, empathic concern, moral obligation, intention to sign an organ donation card, and intention to communicate about organ donation. To investigate these effects, each of the 239 respondents was confronted with one out of eight different campaign posters. The online survey randomly assigned the conditions to the respondents. The results showed that attitude towards the campaign is influenced by message valence. A negative message valence led to a better attitude towards the campaign in comparison to the positive message valence. In addition, a two-way interaction on attitude towards the campaign was found for type of spokesperson x spokesperson’s gender. Furthermore, the results indicated a main effect for message valence on personal distress. The message with a negative valence scored significantly higher than the message containing a positive valence. In addition, effects of the type of spokesperson on personal distress were found and showed that a lay spokesperson is of higher influence in comparison to a celebrity spokesperson. The findings further indicated that message valence has main effects on empathic concern. The negative message valence scored significantly higher on empathic concern than the positive message valence. No main effects of the independent variables on the dependent variables moral obligation, intention to sign an organ donation card, and intention to communicate about organ donation were found. In addition, by means of a regression analysis effects of empathic concern and moral obligation on intention to sign an organ donation card, and intention to communicate about organ donation were found. The results of the study offer insights into the effects of organ donation campaign characteristics, which could help German health organizations to create effective campaigns in order to raise the number of organ donors.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/66746
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