Counterproductive Effects of Overfamiliar Antitobacco Messages on Smoking Cessation Intentions via Message Fatigue and Resistance to Persuasion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


While smoking may result in various harmful effects, such as mental health issues caused by addiction, antitobacco messages have typically focused on the physical health consequences of smoking for decades. Prolonged exposures to these conventional messages may have not only increased awareness about the harmful health effects of smoking but may have also caused message fatigue and resultant resistance to persuasion. The latter effects, however, remain largely unexamined. Addressing this gap, this study examined the effects of overfamiliar antitobacco messages focusing on the health consequences of smoking on message fatigue and resistance to persuasion. Method: In an online experiment, current smokers (N = 296) in the U.S. were randomly assigned to one of the four message conditions that manipulated a degree of familiarity in a 2 (thematic frame: physical vs. mental health) × 2 (valence frame: loss vs. gain) factorial design. Results: The results show that a message portraying physical health consequences of smoking in a loss frame (i.e., overfamiliar frame) induced greater message fatigue than that in a gain frame. Message fatigue, in turn, was associated with higher levels of active (i.e., reactance) and passive resistance (i.e., disengagement) toward antitobacco messages. Reactance induced by message fatigue predicted less favorable attitude and lower intentions to quit smoking. Overall, message fatigue showed both direct and indirect effects on intentions, with the latter being mediated by reactance. Conclusions: Overfamiliar antitobacco message frames may activate greater message fatigue and resistance to persuasion, which may dampen campaign effects. The findings caution against the habitual use of conventional antitobacco messages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-941
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 16

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Yonsei University Research Grant of 2020-22-0400.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Counterproductive Effects of Overfamiliar Antitobacco Messages on Smoking Cessation Intentions via Message Fatigue and Resistance to Persuasion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this