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Designing effective anti-smoking public service announcements based on the independent and interdependent self-construals of smokers

Önen, Mutlu
The self-construal concept, which describes the self as separate from others or as connected with others, basically divides the self into two aspects as independent and interdependent. Considering the individualistic and collectivistic dimensions of culture, the self-construal concept has been well documented in many cross-cultural studies. However, the literature is mostly dominated by quantitative studies. This study differentiates from other studies in terms of applying two qualitative research methodologies to the subject as semi-structured in-depth interviews and art-based methodology. This thesis applies the self-construal concept to understanding behaviors of smokers in terms of a social marketing perspective. For this reason, it focuses on anti-smoking public service announcements (PSAs) as a tool for social marketing. More specifically, this thesis analyzes the effectiveness of different message contents used in anti-smoking PSAs for smokers with independent and interdependent self-construals. Due to the limited number of studies which consider both concepts together, this research aims to contribute to the literature by suggesting effective contents for anti-smoking PSAs. In order to understand the relationships between smokers’ self-construals and their smoking behaviors, semi-structured interviews and personal drawings of the participants were analyzed. The findings demonstrate that individualistic message content can be effective for smokers with independent self-construal, while collectivistic message content can be effective for smokers with interdependent self-construal to increase their quitting intentions. Furthermore, three effective themes for both message contents emerged according to the analysis of the participants’ reflections. The implications of this study are important for public policy makers and nonprofit organizations which aim to improve public health.