Hope in the Depths of Despair: Theorizing about Hope in the Fear Appeal Context

Health Communication Research, 20 (1), 1-35.

Abstract: The present article investigates the antecedent and consequence of hope arousal over the course of processing a fear appeal message by considering constructs and propositions of the extended parallel process model (Witte, 1992). In order to empirically test the mechanism through which hope is produced, this study employed an online experimental study concerning genital warts and HPV vaccination. In the experiment, participants first attended to threat information about HPV infection and genital warts, and then read efficacy information about the effectiveness of HPV vaccination. Results revealed that the impact of perceived efficacy on hope was greater when perceived threat level was higher. Furthermore, evoked hope predicted participants’ intention to adopt a self-protective behavior. The effect of perceived efficacy on intention was mediated by hope, and this mediation effect was greater when a level of perceived threat was higher. The results of this article demonstrate that the emotion of hope needs to be considered as an important affective construct explaining a potential mechanism underlying the persuasive process of fear appeals.

Jeong-Yeob Han  Hanyoung Kim 

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