Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Kathryn Anthony

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Steven Venette

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

John Meyer

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Eura Jung

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Edward Sayre

Committee Member 5 School

Social Science and Global Studies


In 2017, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. The opioid epidemic has become widespread because of over prescription and extreme addiction. In recent years, the crisis has become dire because of the staggering annual death toll from overdoses. Although the number of opioid-related deaths has risen, so too have the innovations designed to combat opioid abuse and overdoses. The use of naloxone is a safe and reliable option for treating overdose victims. In fact, many first responders are primarily relying on the medication in such emergencies. This study explored message-design components for persuading individuals to purchase Narcan nasal spray (a Nalaxone product). Guided by the Extended Parallel Process Model, the project employed three message framing techniques, including gain-frame/loss-frame, labeling and medical stigmatization through language, and linguistic agency assignment. 304 participants read one of eight messages and completed a corresponding survey. The first measure of behavioral intent, which was acceptance or refusal of the coupon code for the Narcan nasal spray, was predicted only by susceptibility and system-efficacy. The second measure, intent to seek additional information regarding Narcan, was predicted by severity, susceptibility, and system-efficacy. The third measure, intent to own Narcan in the future, was predicted by susceptibility and response-efficacy. Optimistic bias and self-efficacy did not predict any of the three behavioral intent variables. However, when separate from the other independent variables, optimistic bias predicted all three behavioral intent variables.