The impact of fear appeals on processing and acceptance of action recommendations.

Hoog, N. de Stroebe, W. Wit, J.B.F.

A stage model of processing of fear-arousing communications was tested in an experiment that examined the impact of vulnerability to a severe health risk, the quality of the arguments supporting a protective action recommendation, and the source to which the recommendation was attributed, on processing and acceptance of the recommendation. Argument quality influenced attitudes toward the recommendation (but not intention to act), and this effect was mediated by negative thoughts about the recommendation. Vulnerability influenced intention to act (but not attitudes), and this effect was mediated by perceived threat and positive thoughts about the recommendation. The pattern of findings suggests that although vulnerability to a severe health risk induces biased processing of the recommendation, biased processing is restricted to intentions and does not compromise the evaluation of the recommendation. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed. (Author/publisher)

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20071947 ST [electronic version only]

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 31 (2005), No. 1 (January), p. 24-33, 33 ref.

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