Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jeffrey E. Holm

Second Advisor

Nancy Vogeltanz-Holm


Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of overall mortality. The highest smoking rate, about 30%, in the U.S. is among young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years. Anti-tobacco media campaigns appear to be effective in preventing and reducing tobacco use, although little is known about how individual differences affect responses to anti-tobacco media. Participants were 144 students at the University of North Dakota. They watched six anti-tobacco advertisements that contained fear messages but varied in levels of graphic imagery. The following was measured: tobacco experience, self-control, locus of control, depression, stress, affect, arousal, valence, and effectiveness. Participants reported greater negative affect and greater effectiveness for the more graphic anti-tobacco advertisements. There appear to be some individual differences (gender, depression, locus of control, and smoking exposure) that predict responses to the ads. Overall, ads with more disgust-evoking graphic imagery were better anti-smoking ads than others.