Drive theory may be seen as the first scientific theory of health and risk communication. However, its prediction of a curvilinear association between fear and persuasion is generally held to be incorrect. A close rereading of Hovland et al. reveals that within- and between-persons processes were conflated. Using a message that advocated obtaining a screening for colonoscopy, this study (N = 259) tested both forms of the inverted-U hypothesis. In the between-persons data, analyses revealed a linear effect that was consistent with earlier investigations. However, the data showed an inverted-U relationship in within-persons data. Hence, the relationship between fear and persuasion is linear or curvilinear depending on the level of analysis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)