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Beneficial effects of reactance in health-related behavior? The effects of fear appeals on defensive and accepting reactions of smokers with different levels of self-esteem


Poggiolini, Claudia (2020). Beneficial effects of reactance in health-related behavior? The effects of fear appeals on defensive and accepting reactions of smokers with different levels of self-esteem. Studies in Communication and Media, 9(3):421-444.

Abstract

In this study, the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM) served as a theoretical background for explaining the persuasive effects of fear appeals on smokers. Based on the self-consistency theory, self-esteem was included as a moderator in this model for understanding in more detail under which circumstances, a fear appeal leads to accepting responses or to reactance. An online experiment was conducted, participating smokers read an article that contained either a neutral picture or a fear appeal. Including self-esteem in the EPPM revealed that in contrast to smokers with high self-esteem, smokers with low self-esteem increased perceived susceptibility and intention to quit, as well as reactance to a fear appeal. Moreover, reactance could not be considered a negative reaction to the fear appeal message, because for individuals with low self-esteem it was positively associated with the intention to quit. Results suggest that additionally considering smokers’ self-esteem can contribute to a more accurate prediction of the persuasive effects of fear appeals.
The impact of self-esteem and reactance in health-related behavior is discussed, as are the implications for health-related messages and future research.

Abstract

In this study, the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM) served as a theoretical background for explaining the persuasive effects of fear appeals on smokers. Based on the self-consistency theory, self-esteem was included as a moderator in this model for understanding in more detail under which circumstances, a fear appeal leads to accepting responses or to reactance. An online experiment was conducted, participating smokers read an article that contained either a neutral picture or a fear appeal. Including self-esteem in the EPPM revealed that in contrast to smokers with high self-esteem, smokers with low self-esteem increased perceived susceptibility and intention to quit, as well as reactance to a fear appeal. Moreover, reactance could not be considered a negative reaction to the fear appeal message, because for individuals with low self-esteem it was positively associated with the intention to quit. Results suggest that additionally considering smokers’ self-esteem can contribute to a more accurate prediction of the persuasive effects of fear appeals.
The impact of self-esteem and reactance in health-related behavior is discussed, as are the implications for health-related messages and future research.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:fear appeal; self-esteem; self-efficacy; perceived susceptibility; reactance; cognitive dissonance; intention to quit smoking
Language:English
Date:31 September 2020
Deposited On:19 Feb 2021 07:30
Last Modified:19 Feb 2021 07:31
Publisher:Nomos
ISSN:2192-4007
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5771/2192-4007-2020-3-421

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