Communication Theory (Volume 13, Number 2, May 2003) features the work of several Annenberg professors. Joseph Cappella serves as guest editor to the issue's theme, "Symposium on Theoretical Approaches to Communication Campaigns" which features "Using Theory to Design Effective Health Behavior Interventions" by Martin Fishbein and Marco Yzer and "Using Theory to Design Evaluations of Communication Campaigns: The Case of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign" by Robert Hornik and Itzhak Yanovitzky.
"Using Theory to Design Effective Health Behavior Interventions": This article demonstrates the usefulness of two theories for the development of effective health communication campaigns. The integrative model of behavioral prediction focuses on changing beliefs about consequences, normative issues, and efficacy with respect to a particular behavior. Media priming theory focuses on strengthening the association between a belief and its outcomes, such as attitude and intention toward performing the behavior. Both the integrative model of behavioral prediction and media priming theory provide guidance with respect to the selection of beliefs to target in an intervention. The article describes the theories, shows how they can be applied to the selection of target beliefs, and, for each theory, defines the criteria for belief selection. The two theories as well as their appropriate analytic strategies are complementary rather than conflicting.
"Using Theory to Design Evaluations of Communication Campaigns": The Case of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign We present a general theory about how campaigns can have effects and suggest that the evaluation of communication campaigns must be driven by a theory of effects. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign illustrates both the theory of campaign effects and implications that theory has for the evaluation design. Often models of effect assume that individual exposure affects cognitions that continue to affect behavior over a short term. Contrarily, effects may operate through social or institutional paths as well as through individual learning, require substantial levels of exposure achieved through multiple channels over time, take time to accumulate detectable change, and affect some members of the audience but not others. Responsive evaluations will choose appropriate units of analysis and comparison groups, data collection schedules sensitive to lagged effects, samples able to detect subgroup effects, and analytic strategies consistent with the theory of effects that guides the campaign.