The effectiveness of empathy- versus fear-arousing antismoking PSAs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Building on a previous study (Shen, 2010), this paper investigates the effectiveness of fear-versus empathy-arousing antismoking PSAs and examines the roles of message-induced fear and state empathy in persuasion. Twelve professionally produced antismoking PSAs were used as stimuli messages in a 3 (message type: empathy, fear vs. control) × 4 (messages) mixed design study. The 260 participants were randomly assigned to each message type and watched four PSAs presented in a random sequence. Results from multilevel modeling analyses showed that empathy-arousing messages are potentially more effective than fear-arousing ones. Both fear and state empathy were found to have a positive direct effect on persuasion. However, fear also had a negative indirect impact on persuasion by activating psychological reactance, while state empathy also had a positive indirect effect by inhibiting psychological reactance. Implications for persuasion, health communication campaigns, and future research were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-415
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Communication
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011

Fingerprint

empathy
Persuasive Communication
Fear
Health
persuasion
anxiety
Communication
reactance
Psychology
Health Communication
Multilevel Analysis
Health Promotion
stimulus
campaign
communication
health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

Cite this

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abstract = "Building on a previous study (Shen, 2010), this paper investigates the effectiveness of fear-versus empathy-arousing antismoking PSAs and examines the roles of message-induced fear and state empathy in persuasion. Twelve professionally produced antismoking PSAs were used as stimuli messages in a 3 (message type: empathy, fear vs. control) × 4 (messages) mixed design study. The 260 participants were randomly assigned to each message type and watched four PSAs presented in a random sequence. Results from multilevel modeling analyses showed that empathy-arousing messages are potentially more effective than fear-arousing ones. Both fear and state empathy were found to have a positive direct effect on persuasion. However, fear also had a negative indirect impact on persuasion by activating psychological reactance, while state empathy also had a positive indirect effect by inhibiting psychological reactance. Implications for persuasion, health communication campaigns, and future research were discussed.",
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The effectiveness of empathy- versus fear-arousing antismoking PSAs. / Shen, Lijiang.

In: Health Communication, Vol. 26, No. 5, 01.07.2011, p. 404-415.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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