Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Fei Xue

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. David R. Davies

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Christopher Campbell

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Cheryl Jenkins

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Dr. Husain Ebrahim


Native advertising through online influencers is one of the fastest-growing online advertising formats that public relations practitioners use worldwide. However, there is a lack of research about how public relations practitioners utilize native advertising in social media in the Middle East. The current study focused on Kuwait, one of the areas with the most notable growth in Instagram usage in recent years.

This study examines the effects of persuasion knowledge, the congruence between influencer and product, and parasocial relationships on ad credibility, influencer credibility, sharing intention, brand interest, and purchase intention. The scholar utilized a 2 (persuasion knowledge: active vs. not active) × 2 (influencer-product congruence: high vs. low) ×2 (parasocial relationships: high vs. low) factorial design to explore correlations among dependent and independent variables.

Three hundred and eight college students at Kuwait University participated in this experiment. The results supported the hypotheses partially and answered the research questions. Significant results were found related to the effects of influencer-product congruence on sharing intention, brand interest, and purchase intention, as well as the effects of parasocial relationships on ad credibility, influencer credibility, brand interest, and purchase intention. Furthermore, significant interaction effects were found between the influencer-product congruence and persuasion knowledge and between the parasocial relationships and persuasion knowledge.

The findings were presented with in-depth discussion and implications that public relations practitioners, marketers, and advertisers can use. The study also recommended directions for future research.