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"Don't Make My Mistake": On the Processing of Narrative Fear Appeals

Ooms, J. A., Jansen, C. J. M., Hommes, S. & Hoeks, J. C. J., 21-Nov-2017, In : International Journal of Communication. 11, p. 4924-4945 22 p., 11.

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In this study, we examined the mechanism underlying the processing of narrative fear appeals. Participants (N = 564) read a story about a protagonist dealing with the consequences of cancer (Study 1: testicular cancer; Study 2: breast cancer; Study 3: skin cancer). Path analysis revealed that (1) attitude and behavioral intention toward performing self-exams were directly and positively associated with a form of transportation we identified as attention-focused transportation; (2) this form of transportation was positively associated with four emotions (fear, sadness, surprise, and compassion), whereas identification positively correlated with only one emotion (compassion); and (3) only the emotion of fear was a predictor of intention to perform self-exams. Taken together, these findings suggest that attention-focused transportation is a very important factor in the processing of narrative fear appeals, and that it can even, under some circumstances, replace the persuasive power of fear.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Pages (from-to)4924-4945
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Volume11
Publication statusPublished - 21-Nov-2017

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