Guilt appeals: persuasion knowledge and charitable giving

S.A. Hibbert, A. Smith, A. Davies, F. Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Citations (Scopus)


This paper applies the persuasion knowledge model to explain consumers' responses to charity guilt appeals. With data obtained through a stimuli-driven survey, the research examines the relationships between knowledge of persuasion tactics and charities, and the level of felt guilt experienced in response to an advertisement and subsequent donation intentions. The findings show that guilt arousal is positively related to donation intention, and that persuasion and agent knowledge impact the extent of guilt aroused. The research confirms that consumers are active rather than passive processors of marketing communications by revealing the role of persuasion and agent knowledge as methods of coping with and informing responses to guilt appeals. Specifically, the research finds that manipulative intent and the respondents' skepticism toward advertising tactics in general are negatively related to guilt arousal but that their affective evaluation and beliefs about a charity are positively related to feelings of guilt. However, it also shows that there is a positive direct relationship between perceived manipulative intent and the intention to donate. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-742
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • persuasion knowledge model
  • charity

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