Estimating causal effects of public health education campaigns using propensity score methodology

Itzhak Yanovitzky, Elaine Zanutto, Robert Hornik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Many evaluations of public health education campaigns attempt to draw conclusions regarding the effect of messages on audiences' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors based on observational data. To make causal inferences in these instances, it is necessary to adjust estimated campaign effects for possible selection bias due to systematic differences between respondents exposed to the campaign and those that were not. In particular, it is necessary to adjust for the impact of confounding variables that are likely to be determinants of both campaign exposure and outcomes. In comparison to other available methods for adjusting for selection bias such as multiple regression and instrumental variable methods, propensity scores offer a particularly simple way of adjusting estimates of campaign exposure effects for selection bias. This paper discusses the logic of this approach and illustrates its application to the evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-220
Number of pages12
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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