The Use of Anti-Neutralisation Statements in Charity Advertising.

Pietryka, Elizabeth (2007) The Use of Anti-Neutralisation Statements in Charity Advertising. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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The Use of Anti-Neutralisation Statements in Charity Advertising

Pro-social behaviour in the form of charity donations is an area where behaviour commonly is not consistent with what one believes to be right, in that individuals often do not help as much as they think they should. When this is the case, cognitive dissonance can arise as an unpleasant psychological state resulting from the inconsistent actions. One method of regaining equilibrium is to make excuses for the conflicting behaviour, conceptualised by Sykes and Matza (1957)

as the Theory of Neutralisation.

It was hypothesised in the present study that counteracting these neutralisations in children's charity appeals may block the excuses for being formed. Therefore, guilt felt upon exposure to the appeal would be increased, as well as subsequent donation intentions.

A sample of 100 Catholic fathers filled in a questionnaire from one of four conditions; one of two separate anti-neutralisation conditions corresponding with different neutralisation categories, a control simply asking for help, and a

combination condition with the two anti-neutralisation statements within one


The study failed to show a significant link between the condition and subsequent donation intentions and guilt ratings, so various aspects of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) Model were taken into consideration. While two constructs of the TPB were found to be unevenly distributed between the conditions, this was not found to significantly affect the measured dependent variables. It is therefore

possible that too many mitigating factors had affected results, such as any number of those presented by Guy and Patton (1989) in their model of giving behaviour. Further research is suggested in the area of charity appeals with alternative participants or materials, before ruling out the use of antineutralisation statements within charity advertising.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2018 16:17

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