Source Credibility in Tobacco Control Messaging
OBJECTIVES: Perceived credibility of a message's source can affect persuasion. This paper reviews how beliefs about the source of tobacco control messages may encourage attitude and behavior change. METHODS: We conducted a series of searches of the peer-reviewed literature using terms from communication and public health fields. We reviewed research on source credibility, its underlying concepts, and its relation to the persuasiveness of tobacco control messages. RESULTS: We recommend an agenda for future research to bridge the gaps between communication literature on source credibility and tobacco control research. Our recommendations are to study the impact of source credibility on persuasion with long-term behavior change outcomes, in different populations and demographic groups, by developing new credibility measures that are topic- and organization-specific, by measuring how credibility operates across media platforms, and by identifying factors that enhance credibility and persuasion. CONCLUSIONS: This manuscript reviews the state of research on source credibility and identifies gaps that are maximally relevant to tobacco control communication. Knowing first whether a source is perceived as credible, and second, how to enhance perceived credibility, can inform the development of future tobacco control campaigns and regulatory communications.