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Fear Appeals. Persuasive Health Message Framework. Kim Witte, The Persuasive Health Message Framework.

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fear appeals

Fear Appeals

Persuasive Health Message Framework

kim witte the persuasive health message framework
Kim Witte, The Persuasive Health Message Framework
  • Framework = Combine parts of successful theories into a single framework. A framework differs from a theory in that it does not attempt to explain human behavior, it simply outlines what one should do to develop the most effective and persuasive campaigns.
  • combines elements from:
    • theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Azjen, 1975)
    • elaboration likelihood model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986)
    • protection motivation theory (Rogers, 1983)
phm elements
PHM elements
  • Threat message
    • Perceived risk
      • Audience must feel susceptible to threat
    • Perceived severeity
      • Audience must perceive threat as severe (BUT, must not overpower efficacy or will create backlash of fear, defense)
  • Efficacy message
    • Self-efficacy
      • Self-confidence in one’s own ability to carry out behavior
    • Response-effiacy
      • Belief in the recommended response’s effectiveness
message cues
Message Cues
  • peripheral cues (credibility/attractiveness of source)
    • peripheral processing happens when people are uninvolved with the topic or message; used to catch attention
  • central cues (arguments in content)
    • central processing occurs when topic is relevant and seen as important; used after attention is gotten
  • message variables (source and appeal)
    • most message variables tend to be processed peripherally
targeting to audience
Targeting to Audience
  • Audience profile –
    • it is important that message fit audience’s demographic, psychographic, cultural beliefs and values, etc.
  • Salient beliefs
    • beliefs about the threat and efficacy of recommended response
  • Salient referents
    • beliefs about what is important to others, what others believe about the threat, and how important those others’ views are to the target individual
  • Culture and environment preferences
    • demographic, psychographics; potential logistical barriers; media channel preferences; etc.
theory of reasoned action
Theory of Reasoned Action
  • Fishbein & Azjen:
    • to change behavior you must change underlying salient beliefs, identify which salient beliefs counter the recommended behavior, and determine and address salient referents/social norms – then design message.
using phm
Using PHM
  • Three-step process:
    • Determine information about threat and efficacy
    • Develop audience profile
    • Construct persuasive message
step 1
Step 1
  • Determining info about threat and efficacy
    • determine salient beliefs and salient referents
    • specify behavioral goal (recommended response)
    • clearly identify target audience (original research or lit review, see tables 8.1-2; see Appendix for sample survey for salient beliefs).
    • Barriers to self-efficacy are especially important to determine and must be addressed in the message.
step 2
Step 2
  • Audience profile is developed –
    • assess audience cultural and environmental information to develop cues
    • use census records, survey research, interviews
    • channel, message and source preferences must be identified.
step 3
Step 3
  • Persuasive message is constructed –
    • must fit with salient beliefs, salient referents and specific audience (transient components)
    • can try to reinforce existing beliefs, change beliefs, or introduce new beliefs
    • reinforcement is easiest
      • frame recommendation within audience’s current belief system.
prior research
Prior Research
  • Campaign to promote specific safety behaviors among farmers
    • Salient beliefs:
      • Injuries are common and severe, but susceptibility is low (farmers don’t feel at personal risk).
      • Believe that safety measures are effective, and feel self-efficacy for doing safety measures, but don’t necessarily use them.
      • High perceived severity
      • Low perceived risk (susceptibility)
farmers campaign cont d
Farmers’ campaign (cont’d)
  • Preferred channel:
    • Manufacturer’s safety manual
  • Preferred source:
    • Equipment company
  • Message concept:
    • Perceived susceptibility needs to be changed. Other beliefs should be reinforced. Need to target specific behaviors.