Journal Article

Evoked fear and effects of appeals on attitudes to performing breast self-examination: an information-processing perspective

Robert A. C. Ruiter, Gerjo Kok, Bas Verplanken and Johannes Brug

in Health Education Research

Volume 16, issue 3, pages 307-319
Published in print June 2001 | ISSN: 0268-1153
Published online June 2001 | e-ISSN: 1465-3648 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/her/16.3.307
Evoked fear and effects of appeals on attitudes to performing breast self-examination: an information-processing perspective

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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. Respondents 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.

Journal Article.  8123 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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