Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marketing (Business Administration)

First Advisor

Daniel L. Sherrell


The study examined the resistance of attitudes to counterpersuasion using the Elaboration Likelihood Model as a framework for analysis. The ELM postulated the centrally formed attitudes are more resistant to counterpersuasion than peripherally formed attitudes. A negative publicity setting was used to introduce respondents to a longitudinal study of attitude formation and change. A model was developed hypothesizing the role of company and brand cognitions would be significant in the formation of attitudes and intentions in central processors. It was hypothesized that A$\sb{\rm Ad}$ would be the primary influence on company and brand attitudes for peripheral processors. A sample of college students participated in a study examining attitudinal responses to counterpersuasive material. The study required a two-stage operationalization in initial involvement levels were manipulated, followed by presentation of a negative publicity message aimed at encouraging attributions about the target company vs. external factors. The two-stage study yielded four processing group sequences (central-central; central-peripheral; peripheral-central and peripheral-peripheral). The resulting processing groups were compared to see if attitudinal components of A$\sb{\rm Co}$, A$\sb{\rm B}$, and BI changed with the counterpersuasive information. Results indicate that in the negative publicity setting, centrally formed attitudes exhibited the greatest change in the attitudinal components. The internal attribution resulted in an emotional reaction for central processing subjects. Additional analysis suggested that although central processors developed the most cognitions about the stimuli, these cognitions were not used in attitude formation. Findings suggest the ELM may not be an effective framework for explaining consumer reactions in a negative publicity setting. Findings suggest that in a negative publicity setting, company attitudes play an important role in brand attitude and behavioral intentions formation. Strategic implications suggest that company image plays an important role in response to negative publicity incidences.