Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

First Advisor

Daniel N. McIntosh, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Anne DePrince

Third Advisor

George Potts

Fourth Advisor

Maria Riva


Affect, Attitudes, Domestic violence, Memory, Public service ads, Trauma


Public service ads (PSAs) are an increasingly visible part of efforts to decrease the occurrence and consequences of domestic violence. Like other advertising, domestic violence PSAs are designed to grab attention, influence attitudes, and enhance memory for ad content. Over the years, images in domestic violence PSAs have changed substantially; agencies have started using pictures that generate emotions - either vivid negative images (bruised faces or body parts), or positive images (smiling faces) that contrast with the negative text. It is not clear, however, how different types of ad images influence memory for the message and attitudes about domestic violence, and what role affect may play in such responses. Moreover, the extent to which individual differences (trauma history, posttraumatic distress - PTSD symptoms) influence outcomes is not known. In three studies with undergraduate and community samples, using methods ranging from psychophysiology to self-report, the impact of images on attitudes and memory for ad content are investigated, also considering affect and individual differences. Results indicate graphic negative images enhanced memory for ad content, are rated as more persuasive, and are more likely to compel the viewer to act. Affective responses to ads also differed based on image type, and in some cases, partially mediated the relationship between ads and outcomes. Trends in the data suggest further study of the role of individual differences (trauma history, PTSD symptoms) is needed. This research provides information specifically relevant to the design of domestic violence public service campaigns and broadly relevant to understanding the role of emotional responses and individual differences on outcomes associated with public service ads.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Courtney Elizabeth Welton-Mitchell


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

112 p.


Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology