Despite growing concern over the public’s fatigue toward inundated health messages, communication research has largely neglected such ramifications of prolonged, real-life campaign exposure. This paper offers an initial conceptual and empirical treatment of message fatigue, an important, but understudied, side effect of campaigns. Specifically, it proposes conceptual and operational definitions of the construct and examines psychometric characteristics of a proposed message fatigue scale. The findings from two studies concerning safe sex (N = 412) and anti-obesity messages (N = 396) demonstrated solid support for the scale’s unidimensionality. In support of construct validity, the scale exhibited significant associations with message avoidance, annoyance, information seeking, and desensitization. Moreover, in an experimental setting in Study 2, message fatigue negatively predicted attention and message elaboration, while positively predicting counterargument.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics