The “Angelina Effect” and Audience Response to Celebrity vs. Medical Expert Health Messages: an Examination of Source Credibility, Message Elaboration, and Behavioral Intentions

  • Tara M. Emmers-SommerEmail author
  • Larissa Terán


The purpose of this investigation is to examine responses to celebrity vs. medical experts’ health messages. Data were collected online from 357 participants at a large southwestern university. Results indicate that participants found the celebrity to be more credible than the medical expert in offering the health message. Women elaborated on the female celebrity’s health message to a significantly greater degree than men elaborated on the male celebrity health message. Regarding behavioral intentions (e.g., raise awareness, learn more, get screened, and encourage screening) due to the health message, men reported greater behavioral intentions due to the male celebrity message than the male medical expert message. Finally, women reported greater behavioral intentions due to the female medical expert’s message than men reported due to a male medical expert’s message. Discussion and future directions follow.


Celebrity Health messages Elaboration likelihood model Gender Social influence Credibility 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights Statement

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication StudiesUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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