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Where do norms come from? Peer communication as a factor in normative social influences on risk behavior


Geber, Sarah; Baumann, Eva; Klimmt, Christoph (2019). Where do norms come from? Peer communication as a factor in normative social influences on risk behavior. Communication Research, 46(5):708-730.

Abstract

This study explores the role of peer communication in normative social influences on risk behavior. We use the theory of normative social behavior (TNSB) as a guiding framework for developing a communication perspective on normative social influences. Peer communication is conceptualized as a norm-building factor and its concrete role is specified as a function of its content. The hypotheses on peer communication’s impact on norms in normative social influences are tested for the case of speeding in road traffic. The analyses are based on representative survey data of 1,138 German young car drivers. Findings from mediational analyses indicate that peer communication plays a crucial role in the formation of social norms which, in turn, affect risk behavior, and that the communication’s health-promoting potential depends on its content. Implications for further norm-based theory development and strategic risk communication are discussed.

Abstract

This study explores the role of peer communication in normative social influences on risk behavior. We use the theory of normative social behavior (TNSB) as a guiding framework for developing a communication perspective on normative social influences. Peer communication is conceptualized as a norm-building factor and its concrete role is specified as a function of its content. The hypotheses on peer communication’s impact on norms in normative social influences are tested for the case of speeding in road traffic. The analyses are based on representative survey data of 1,138 German young car drivers. Findings from mediational analyses indicate that peer communication plays a crucial role in the formation of social norms which, in turn, affect risk behavior, and that the communication’s health-promoting potential depends on its content. Implications for further norm-based theory development and strategic risk communication are discussed.

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32 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:070 News media, journalism & publishing
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Language and Linguistics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Social Sciences & Humanities > Linguistics and Language
Uncontrolled Keywords:Peer communication, social norms, theory of normative social behavior, risk communication, mediational analysis
Language:English
Date:1 July 2019
Deposited On:15 Jan 2020 11:24
Last Modified:23 Sep 2023 01:38
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0093-6502
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650217718656
  • Content: Accepted Version