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Addressing the Texting and Driving Epidemic: Mortality Salience Priming Effects on Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions

Journal of Consumer Affairs, 48 (2), 223-250

50 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2013 Last revised: 11 Jul 2014

Ioannis Kareklas

State University of New York at Albany

Darrel Muehling

Washington State University - Department of Marketing

Date Written: September 12, 2013

Abstract

Texting while driving is becoming a problem of epidemic proportion, causing thousands of fatalities each year. However, surprisingly few academic studies to date have examined this issue in a social marketing context. We address this research void by reporting the findings of two empirical studies – the first, an exploratory study of drivers’ perceptions of texting while driving; the second, an experimental examination of the relative effectiveness of mortality salience primes in public service announcements (PSAs). Employing theory derived from the mortality salience literature, we find that when verbal and/or visual cues to death/dying were used, participants’ attitudes and behavioral intentions were altered in a positive direction. As compared to a control group, the primed PSAs produced less favorable attitudes and reduced intentions to text while driving in the future. Implications of these findings for consumers, social marketers and policy makers are discussed, and future research directions are provided.

Keywords: texting and driving, fear appeals, mortality salience, public service announcements (PSAs)

Suggested Citation

Kareklas, Ioannis and Muehling, Darrel, Addressing the Texting and Driving Epidemic: Mortality Salience Priming Effects on Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions (September 12, 2013). Journal of Consumer Affairs, 48 (2), 223-250. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2324987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2324987

Ioannis Kareklas (Contact Author)

State University of New York at Albany ( email )

1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12222
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ioanniskareklas.com/

Darrel Muehling

Washington State University - Department of Marketing ( email )

367C Todd Addition
Pullman, WA 99164
United States
509-335-7302 (Phone)
509-335-3865 (Fax)

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