Evoked Fear and Effects of Appeals on Attitudes to Performing Breast Self-examination: An Information Processing Perspective

R A C Ruiter, G Kok, B Verplanken, J Brug

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27 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of fear arousal on attitude toward participating in early detection activities [i.e. breast self-examination (BSE)] was studied from an information-processing perspective. It was hypothesized that fear arousal motivates respondents to more argument-based processing of fear-relevant persuasive information. 88 female respondents (mean age 20 yrs) first read information about breast cancer in which fear was manipulated. After measuring fear arousal, respondents read a persuasive message about performing BSE. Analyses with reported fear, but not manipulated fear, found support for the hypothesis. Respondents who reported mild fear of breast cancer based their attitude toward BSE more on the arguments provided than respondents who reported low fear of breast cancer. This finding suggests that the use of fear arousal may be an efficient tool in health education practice. However, alternative interpretations are provided, in addition to the suggestion to be careful with using fear arousal in health education messages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-319
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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