Trustworthiness of Doctors from Public Health Campaigns
Keywords:Trustworthiness, Public Health
Previous research concerning the effectiveness of public health campaigns have explored the impact of message design, message content, communication channel choice and other aspects of such campaigns. Meta analyses reported in the literature reveal, however, that the choice of endorsers in health campaigns remains unexplored. The present study addresses this gap in the literature by studying what makes doctors from public health campaigns appear trustworthy in the eyes of the receiver.
The present research examines propensity for trust as well facets of trustworthiness of such expert doctors based on a survey carried out in the UK (155 respondents). Underlying factors of trustworthiness are explored to gain more insight into the understanding of how trust may affect the public’s belief updating and the formation of intentions. Exploratory factor analyses suggest four dimensions of trustworthiness. Multiple regression analyses demonstrate that these factors explain almost 70% of the variance in the participants’ expressed trust in doctors from public health campaigns.
Doctors’ ethical stance and their care for the health of the general population appear to be more important for perceived trustworthiness than their actual professional background, although their abilities and competences are closely related to ethics and benevolence. For policy makers this has important implications when selecting endorsers for public health campaigns in order to design effective health related communication, for example to combat obesity.