Breaking down barriers : utilizing audiovisual and gain-message frames to attenuate psychological reactance and increase source credibility towards strategic health messages
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This study was guided by the idea that persuasive health messages have a better chance at being successful if they mitigate the negative force toward persuasion, namely psychological reactance, and emphasize the positive force toward persuasion, namely source credibility. Namely, this study predicted that gain-framed messages and audiovisual content could counteract state reactance and increase the persuasiveness of health messages. A 2 (message frame: gain/loss) x 2 (modality: audiovisual/text) x 2 (message) within-subjects experiment with a between-subjects factor was conducted with undergraduate students to test whether communicating weight management messages with a gain-messaged frame in a audiovisual format can effectively mitigate psychological reactance. The data indicate that gain-framed messages indeed mitigate psychological reactance while the modality and the frame of the health message interact in such a way that gain-framed messages in an audiovisual modality generate the highest motivations to comply with the recommendations in the persuasive health messages. Furthermore, positive perceptions of source credibility predicted attenuated state reactance, which supports the study's idea that increasing the positive aspect of a persuasive health message can help break down barriers preventing the health message from being persuasively successful.
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