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The persuasive effects of framing messages on fruit and vegetable consumption according to regulatory focus theory

Dijkstra, A., Rothman, A. & Pietersma, S., 2011, In : Psychology & Health. 26, 8, p. 1036-1048 13 p.

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  • The persuasive effects of framing messages on fruit and vegetable consumption

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DOI

According to Regulatory Focus theory (RFT), outcomes in persuasive messages can be framed in four different ways, as gains, non-gains, losses or non-losses. In study 1, the persuasiveness of all four frames was compared and the presence/absence effect that was expected on the basis of the feature-positive effect was verified: Statements about present outcomes (gain, loss) were more persuasive than those about absent outcomes (non-gain, non-loss). However, this study failed to support the prediction that a gain-framed message would be more persuasive than a loss-framed message when promoting a prevention behaviour. Study 2 was designed to examine the latter finding. It was hypothesised that the threat posed by the loss-framed message in study 1 was too low to elicit a defensive reaction. Therefore, in study 2, the personal relevance of the gain and the loss framed message was manipulated. Consistent with predictions, the gain-framed message was more persuasive than the loss-framed message, but only when the message was personalised to increase self-relevance. Moreover, the effect was due to a significant drop in persuasion in the loss condition, probably caused by a defensive reaction. These data shed a new light on the findings of past framing studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1048
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology & Health
Volume26
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Keywords

  • message framing, regulatory focus theory, personalisation, defensiveness, HEALTH-RISK INFORMATION, LOSS-FRAMED MESSAGES, SELF-AFFIRMATION, BEHAVIOR, LOSSES, GAINS, FIT

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