Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Derina Holtzhausen, Ph.D.


Public service announcements, Message evaluation, Problem recognition, Personal involvement, Information seeking, Behavioral intent


This study establishes a link between research on organizational source credibility and the effects of public information campaigns. Research has established that source credibility is one factor audiences evaluate when responding to messages and that credible information sources enhance message acceptance, while untrustworthy sources can interfere with desired message effects. Although source credibility studies have typically focused on the person delivering a message, recent studies indicate that audience perceptions of the organization sponsoring a message has a direct effect on message acceptance as well. Additionally, a few studies indicate that non-profit sources of health information are viewed as more credible, while such messages presented by for-profit organizations are less effective. This study uses an experimental procedure to investigate the relationship between organizational status, source credibility, and two possible effects of public service messages, information seeking and behavioral intent. Based on previous findings, the study hypothesized that the non-profit source would berated as more credible and that as the audiences' perception of source credibility increases so would their willingness to seek additional information or perform the advocated behaviors. Findings indicate, however, that organizational status does not have a significant effect on perceptions of source credibility. Nor does it significantly influence message evaluation, information seeking, or behavioral intent. As predicted, there was a positive correlation between source credibility, message credibility, problem recognition, personal relevance, information seeking, and behavioral intent. The results also indicate that information seeking positively predicts behavioral intent.