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

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-07, 00:06 authored by Z Hobson, Julia YesbergJulia Yesberg, B Bradford
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 worldviews 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.

Funding

Neighbourhood Policing and Collective Efficacy (NPACE): Tackling Serious Violent Crime | Funder: Economic and Social Research Council | Grant ID: ES/S010629/1

History

Preferred citation

Hobson, Z., Yesberg, J. A. & Bradford, B. (2022). Fear Appeals in Anti-Knife Carrying Campaigns: Successful or Counter-Productive? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37(23-24), NP21573-NP21598. https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605211064237

Journal title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Volume

37

Issue

23-24

Publication date

2022-12-01

Pagination

NP21573-NP21598

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Publication status

Published

Online publication date

2022-01-17

ISSN

0886-2605

eISSN

1552-6518

Language

en