Putting the Fear Back Again (and Within Individuals): Revisiting the Role of Fear in Persuasion

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Abstract

The overwhelming majority of fear appeal research came from the between-individuals approach and yielded consistent evidence for a linear fear–persuasion relationship. A recent review suggested that the within-individuals approach might be more appropriate. Studies that measured fear at multiple time points have consistently revealed a curvilinear association between fear and persuasion predicted by the drive model. A Web-based experiment (N = 454) using tobacco warning labels was conducted to replicate the inverted-U shape curvilinear relationship between fear and persuasion, and to revisit the role of fear in fear appeal theories. Results showed that the inverted-U fear curve positively predicted persuasion and reduced maladaptive responses, and that the linear trajectory of fear positively predicted maladaptive responses and failure of persuasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1331-1341
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Communication
Volume32
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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