Fear Responses to Threat Appeals: Functional Form, Methodological Considerations, and Correspondence Between Static and Dynamic Data

James Price Dillard, Ruobing Li, Eric Meczkowski, Chun Yang, Lijiang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study tested (a) the extent to which an inverted-U pattern of fear response predicted persuasion, (b) the degree to which the fear curve mediated the effects of the four components of threat appeals on persuasion, (c) the correspondence between the static measures of fear used in between-subjects designs and the dynamic indices required by the within-subject approach, and (d) the methodological threats inherent to dynamic designs. Participants (N = 418) read a message that advocated for colorectal cancer screening. Results showed that the inverted-U fear curve predicted intention to obtain a colonoscopy, and that susceptibility and response efficacy exerted their influence on persuasion via the fear curve while severity and self-efficacy did not. The static measure of fear showed poor absolute correspondence with the peak and end indices of dynamic fear, but strong pattern correspondence. Hazards to inference posed by dynamic designs of the type used in this study appear negligible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1018
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Research
Volume44
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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