Examining Adolescents' Responses to Antimarijuana PSAs


may be addressed to the author at the Department of Communication, 102 Bolton Hall, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843–4234; email: mstephenson@tamu.edu.


The research reported here investigated sensation seeking as a moderating variable of 368 adolescents' reactions to antimarijuana public service announcements. Participants rated the perceived message sensation value of 3 antimarijuana TV ads, their processing of the consequences of marijuana use, their affective responses to the ads, and antimarijuana attitudes. Two structural equation models—1 for high sensation seekers and the other for low sensation seekers—revealed 2 very different styles of processing the ads. Specifically, antimarijuana attitudes for high sensation seekers were influenced directly and indirectly by sympathetic distress and directly by argument-based processing. In contrast, antimarijuana attitudes for low sensation seekers were influenced solely by argument-based processing.