Two different lines of research—interpersonal resistance and public campaign design—lead us to consider the use of incentive appeals to motivate behavior change, with a call for greater attention to and use of positive incentives. This study tests the potential to promote antibiotic stewardship through microbiome benefits. In addition, multiple analyses were used: A causal analysis allowed us to identify what moved (e.g., which beliefs and intentions), a latent transition analysis allowed us to reveal who moved (targets, nontargets, or both), and a Markov model allowed us to estimate the stable state of these moves or, in other words, where and how the repetition of the messages would ultimately lead in terms of transitions from state to state. An experiment (N = 298), grounded in the context of antibiotic stewardship, showed that incentive appeals moved people with problematic patterns of past behavior (categorized as Persuaders, Stockers, and Dissenters) to positive patterns of behavioral intentions (categorized as Stewards). The causal analysis, latent class analysis, and equilibrium values for the separate transition matrices showed the relative benefit for a message that highlighted the health and wellness benefits of the microbiome. Implications for persuasion theory and practice are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences