Mining Publication: Using Persuasive Messages to Encourage Voluntary Hearing Protection Among Coal Miners
This longitudinal field study was designed to encourage Appalachian coal miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to engage in hearing protection behaviors. Participants were mailed postcards that featured either a positive, negative, or neutral message on the outside of the postcard and a message encouraging hearing protection behaviors on the reverse. The first posttest measurement of the effectiveness of the persuasive messages was conducted about a week after the cards were mailed. The delayed posttest measurement was conducted 6 weeks later. Responses from 307 coal miners revealed that the positive or neutral messages generated significantly more self-reported hearing protection behaviors than the negative message. Identical results were obtained in a delayed posttest assessment of miners' self-reported hearing protection behaviors. The positive message was also more effective than either the neutral or negative message in preventing defensive mechanisms from emerging over time. Positive and neutral messages were convincingly more successful than negative messages in facilitating self-reported hearing protection behaviors among coal miners. Similarly, the positive messages kept defensive processes at bay.