Health messaging to individuals who perceive ambiguity in health communications: the promise of self-affirmation.

Klein, William M P, Hamilton, Jada G, Harris, Peter and Han, Paul K J (2015) Health messaging to individuals who perceive ambiguity in health communications: the promise of self-affirmation. Journal of Health Communication, 20 (5). pp. 566-72. ISSN 1081-0730

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Abstract

The perception that extant health messages about risk factors for a disease are ambiguous can be associated with greater anxiety and reduced interest in taking precautionary action. In this experiment, 247 female alcohol consumers who perceived varying degrees of ambiguity in current cancer prevention messages read an unambiguous article about the documented link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. Before reading the article, half were given the opportunity to self-affirm by reflecting on an important value-a technique previously shown to enhance receptivity to threatening messages. The authors found that self-affirmation increased message acceptance among those who perceived relatively higher levels of ambiguity in cancer communications. Also, the relation between perceived ambiguity and risk perception became positive among self-affirmed participants, suggesting they had become less defensive. Self-affirmation may be an effective technique to use when delivering health communications to audiences who perceive a lack of consistency in prevention messages.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2015 11:20
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 06:09
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/55819

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