Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly Page Werder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kenneth Killebrew, Ph.D.


source credibility, message strength, source affiliation, gender, sex roles


This study establishes a link between research done in the field of public relations on source credibility, communicator gender, message strength, and source affiliation. Research has established that source credibility is one of the most important factors influencing the acceptance of a message. For this study, source credibility was measured using three main dimensions: expertise, trustworthiness and attractiveness. Similar to many studies focusing on source credibility, this study focuses on the various attributes of the communicator or message source. This study uses an experimental procedure to investigate the relationships between source credibility, message strength, source affiliation, and communicator gender. Based on previous findings, this study hypothesized that higher message strength will be perceived as more credible than lower message strength, sources labeled 'public relations practitioner' will be perceived as less credible than sources that are not, and male communicators will be seen as more credible than females. Findings indicate, however, that message strength has no significant influence on source credibility. Nor does it significantly influence the opinions of the participants on the communicator's gender and their affiliation with the term public relations practitioner, except in the case of their levels of expertise. The results however did indicate that there are statistically significant interactions between the trustworthiness and attractiveness of the source and the attitudes of the participants toward the public relations message, the corporation and their subsequent behavioral intentions.