Hendriks, H., Van den Putte, B., & De Bruijn, G.-J. (2015). Subjective reality: The influence of perceived and objective conversational valence on binge drinking determinants. Journal of Health Communication, 20(7), 859-866. doi:10.1080/10810730.2015.1018570

Abstract: Previous studies have shown that interpersonal communication, and particularly perceived conversational valence (i.e., the perceived negativity or positivity of conversations) about health topics, influences health determinants. Based on 43 dyads (N = 86) discussing the topic of alcohol consumption, this study is the first to show that whereas perceived and objective conversational valence are positively related, only perceived conversational valence is a significant predictor of binge drinking attitudes and intentions. Thus, subjective reality matters more than objective reality. Furthermore, only the perceived valence of the participants’ own contributions – and not of their conversation partners – influences binge drinking intentions, indicating that self-persuasion is more influential than persuasion by others. Thus, conversations in which discussants themselves express negative opinions about unhealthy behaviors can enhance public health.

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