Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John Wanzenried

Second Advisor

Chuck Powell

Third Advisor

Mike Sherer


This thesis examined the effect of cigarette smoking on perceptions of source credibility. Twenty-five bi-polar adjectives were used to measure five dimensions of credibility (competency, character, sociability, composure, and extroversion) developed by McCroskey and Jenson. Subjects recruited from students enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (n = 272) were assigned one of four versions of a photograph depicting either a male or female model holding a cigarette, or those same models in identical photographs with the cigarette removed. Subjects were then asked to complete the credibility scales, based upon the person depicted in the photograph.

Results from the study indicated that overall, the models shown holding the cigarette received significantly lower credibility ratings than when photographed without the cigarette on the dimensions of competency, character, and composure. Smoking models received significantly higher credibility ratings on the extroversion dimension.

Data collected from subjects who smoked and subjects who did not smoke were then analyzed separately. Results indicated that nonsmoking subjects rated nonsmoking models significantly higher on the dimensions of competency, character, and composure and rated smoking models significantly higher on the extroversion dimension.Smoking subjects assigned the nonsmoking model higher credibility ratings than the smoking model on all of the dimensions except extroversion. Of the four remaining dimensions which favored the nonsmoker, only composure showed a significant difference at p<.05.

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