Fear appeals and binge drinking : a terror management theory perspective.

Jessop, D.C. & Wade, J.

The aim of the current research was to test the terror management theory-derived hypotheses that exposure to information about the mortality-related risks of binge drinking would make mortality salient (Study 1) and, hence, exacerbate willingness to binge drink amongst those who perceive this behaviour to benefit selfesteem (Study 2). In study 1 participants (N ¼ 97) were allocated to one of five experimental conditions. Results confirmed that exposure to information about the mortalityrelated risks of binge drinking made mortality salient. In study 2 participants (N ¼ 296) were allocated to one of three experimental conditions. Exposure to mortality-related information about the risks of binge drinking was found to result in greater willingness to binge drink among (i) binge drinkers and (ii) non-binge drinkers who perceived this behaviour to benefit self-esteem. There was no evidence, however, that exposure to such information influenced binge drinking over the following week. Research findings suggest that mortality-related health promotion campaigns might inadvertently make mortality salient, and hence precipitate the very behaviours which they aim to deter among some recipients. (Author/publisher)

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20110557 ST [electronic version only]

British Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 13 (2008), No. 4 (November), p. 773-788, 28 ref.

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