The identification of framed messages in the New York State Smokers' Quitline materials

Amy E Latimer, Kaitlin E Green, Kristina Schmid, Jennifer Tomasone, Sara Abrams, K Michael Cummings, Paula Celestino, Peter Salovey, Srinivasa Seshadri, Benjamin A Toll
Health Education Research 2010, 25 (1): 54-60
Research suggests that smoking cessation messages are most persuasive when framed in terms of the benefits achieved from quitting (i.e. gain-framed) than when framed in terms of the costs of not quitting (i.e. loss-framed). It is unknown, however, if these findings about optimal message frames have been translated into public health practice. The current study examined message framing in telephone counseling sessions with smokers calling the New York State Smokers' Quitline (NYSSQ). We conducted a content analysis of all NYSSQ print material and 12 Quitline service calls. Two independent raters coded each message within these documents as being gain-framed, loss-framed or non-framed. Messages from the service calls also were coded for their function (e.g. information provision, information gathering). Interrater reliability was acceptable (kappa > 0.80). Of the 997 print messages evaluated, 21.6% were gain-framed, 13.8% were loss-framed and 64.6% were non-framed. For the service calls, only the messages with an information provision function included framed content. Of the 420 information provision messages, 10.2% were gain-framed, 1.7% were loss-framed and 88.1% were non-framed. The loss-framed and non-framed messages indicate missed opportunities for providing gain-framed messages within the Quitline services, thus emphasizing a possible gap between research and practice.

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