Using persuasive messages to encourage voluntary hearing protection among coal miners

Michael T. Stephenson, Kim Witte, Charles Vaught, Brian L. Quick, Steve Booth-Butterfield, Dhaval Patel, Cynthia Zuckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: This longitudinal field study was designed to encourage Appalachian coal miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to engage in hearing-protection behaviors. Method: Participants were mailed postcards that featured either a positive, negative, or neutral message on the outside of the postcard and a message encouraging hearing protection behaviors on the inside. The first posttest measurement of the effectiveness of the persuasive messages was conducted about a week after the postcards were mailed. The delayed posttest measurement was conducted six weeks later. Results: Responses from 307 coal miners revealed that the positive or neutral messages generated significantly more self-reported hearing protection behaviors than the negative message. Identical results were obtained in a delayed posttest assessment of miners' self-reported hearing protection behaviors. The positive message was also more effective than either the neutral or negative message in preventing defensive mechanisms from emerging over time. Impact on Industry: Positive and neutral messages were convincingly more successful than negative messages in facilitating self-reported hearing protection behaviors among coal miners. Similarly, the positive messages kept defensive processes at bay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Campaign
  • Coal miners
  • Hearing loss
  • Hearing protection
  • Messages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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