Friday, June 17, 2016

Religious rhetoric not helpful in anti-alcohol messages

Public Release: 19-Apr-2016
Religious rhetoric not helpful in anti-alcohol messages
Does adding a religious message to an anti-alcohol message sway a viewer? Michigan State research says no
Michigan State University

Does including a religious message in a public service announcement warning of the dangers of alcohol use make a difference to the viewer, especially if that person lives in a Middle Eastern country in which the predominate religion is Muslim?

While one might think it would help sway an opinion, recent research by a Michigan State University scholar indicates that's not necessarily the case.

Saleem Alhabash, an assistant professor in MSU's Department of Advertising and Public Relations, tested out the theory on a group of students in his native Palestine.

To his surprise, his team found that adding a verse from the Koran to the message did not discourage viewers from drinking, considering drinking or urging others not to drink.

"Contrary to popular or stereotypical belief, adding religious rhetoric to a health message is not going to work in this particular context," Alhabash said. "One would think that would be the case in this region where people often blindly follow anything religious. But our results show otherwise."


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