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Fear Appeals in Anti-Knife Carrying Campaigns: Successful or Counter-Productive?

Hobson, Z; Yesberg, J; Bradford, B; (2022) Fear Appeals in Anti-Knife Carrying Campaigns: Successful or Counter-Productive? Journal of Interpersonal Violence (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In the UK, knife crime continues to be a persistent and worrying concern. Media campaigns are often used by police and anti-knife crime organisations in an attempt to discourage young people from picking up a weapon. Many focus on the potentially devastating consequences associated with carrying a weapon, with the aim of provoking fear and thus a deterrent effect. In this paper we present the findings from two experimental studies exploring the effects of exposure to fear-based knife crime media campaigns on young people’s intentions to engage in knife carrying behaviour. Utilising a terror management theory perspective, in both studies we found that exposure to knife-related campaign imagery increased mortality salience, but there was no effect of campaign condition on willingness to carry a knife or on perceived benefits of knife-carrying. Although knife-related self-esteem/cultural world views predicted attitudes towards knife-carrying, such views did not moderate the effect of exposure to knife-related campaign imagery, and there was no effect of priming participants’ to consider the value of behaving responsibly. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Type: Article
Title: Fear Appeals in Anti-Knife Carrying Campaigns: Successful or Counter-Productive?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/jiv
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: knife crime; fear appeals; media campaigns; terror management theory; mortality salience
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138094
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