Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Sukki Yoon

Second Faculty Advisor

Kacy Kim


advertising; stigma; medical marijuana; shame/guilt; rhetoric


Bryant University

Rights Management



Medical marijuana patients must contend not just with their maladies, but with the social stigma surrounding marijuana use as well. This study hypothesizes that advertising can be used to positively influence individual’s acceptance of medical marijuana. It seeks to answer the questions: Can persuasive advertising be used to reduce stigma surrounding medical marijuana? Which advertising method is most effective in this persuasive process? To find the answer, a between subject, factorial design experiment is used. One of six randomized advertisements are shown to participants in a 3x2 (pathos, logos, ethos x guilt and shame) design. Participants opinions on the advertisement and the validity of medical marijuana are examined after. Although statistically insignificant due to limitations, the data suggests that guilt (vs. shame) appeals are more effective when paired with the rhetorical framework of pathos and logos, however this difference was eliminated with ethos-oriented advertisements. This study expands upon the guilt/shame advertising research conducted by Baek and Yoon (2017), and data from this study can potentially be used by public welfare organizations for stigma-reduction campaigns.

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