Strengthening the persuasive impact of fear appeals: The role of action framing

R A C Ruiter, G Kok, B Verplanken, G van Eersel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (SciVal)


Tested, among 110 Dutch undergraduate students, the effects of action frame (AF) under conditions of fear arousal (FA). We predicted an interaction effect between FA and AF that would show that high FA paired with loss information leads to a more positive evaluation of the recommended action than do combinations of (a) high FA with gain information and (b) low FA with either loss or gain information. In the high-threat condition, Ss read information that stressed the severity of breast cancer and the Ss' susceptibility to it. In the low-threat condition, the S's susceptibility to breast cancer was described as low. FA was measured by 4 items on a 9-point scale. Next, Ss then read information about performing breast self-examination that was presented either in a loss frame or in a gain frame. The main dependent variable was a relative evaluation of the importance of monthly breast self-examination performance compared with 5 other health behaviors. A main effect of FA was found, but this effect seemed to be qualified by the predicted interaction between FA and AF, which approached significance. Simple contrast analyses show that Ss in the high FA-loss condition evaluated breast self-examination as more important than Ss in any of the other groups. Further research is suggested. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-400
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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