Background: Determining optimal methods for preventing suicide continues to be an elusive goal. Aims: The study examines benefits and possible untoward effects of public service announcements (PSAs) for young adults. Methods: Young adult participants (N = 279) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) a billboard simulation, (b) a 30-s TV ad simulation, and (c) a no-information condition. Results: Largely replicating a study previously conducted with adolescents, the results provided some evidence of the benefit of the simulated TV ad (e. g., increased knowledge, perceived as useful), but it also provided some evidence of untoward effects for the billboard (e. g., viewers were less likely to endorse help-seeking strategies, normative beliefs were altered for high-risk participants). Conclusions: These results are preliminary but nevertheless highlight the need for carefully researching existing messages prior to market diffusion, so that the well-intended efforts of preventionists can meet their desired goals.
- Public service announcements (PSAs)
- Suicide prevention
- Young adults