Beyond Fear Appeals: The Role of Hope in Improving Effectiveness of Health Messages.” Paper accepted for poster by Communicating Science, Health, Environment, and Risk Division
Abstract: One of the understudied areas in health communication research is hope. This study examines the effect of efficacy-inducing information on hope and subsequent attitudinal health behaviors. A total of five hundred fifty-three adults in the United States read health promotion social media posts designed to induce perceived self-efficacy (vs. non-efficacy-inducing health information) in fear-appeal regarding four different health diseases including melanoma, COVID-19, diabetes, and heart diseases. Results indicated that exposure to efficacy-inducing information enhanced hope, which boosted behavioral intention and intention to seek information. However, the effect was varied by each health topic. Statistical evaluation supported a model where the indirect effect of exposure to efficacy-inducing information on behavioral intention and intention to seek information through feelings of hope. Implications for health communication theory and practice are further discussed.