Fear arousal- Ruiter

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  • Created on: 10-04-14 09:29
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AIM:
To examine the effect of fear arousal on attitude toward participating in early detection activities (breast self-
examination for cancer)
METHOD: Lab experiment
SAMPLE: Volunteer sample; 88 female undergraduates at University of Maastricht in the Netherlands (mean age= 20)
DESIGN: Independent measures
PROCEDURE:
4 conditions; low fear arousal vs. mild fear arousal and weak persuasion vs. strong persuasion. The PPs were told
they would evaluate the effectiveness of several educational messages about breast cancer. The experiment was
computer controlled.
Manipulation of fear was carried out through different levels of implied severity of breast cancer and susceptibility of
participant. Argument strength varied from `breast self-examination is a nice way to be intimate with yourself' to `by
performing breast self-examination you are able to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage and therefore more
treatable'. PPs debriefed afterwards.
FINDINGS:
No statistically significant effect of: manipulated fear on attitudes; fear arousal and argument strength
interaction on attitudes
Significant effect of argument strength- suggested argument-based message processing
Significant interaction between reported fear and argument strength- Only PPs who reported mild fear coupled
with a strong argument indicated they were more positive towards breast self-examination
CONCLUSION:
The study supported the hypothesis that evoked fear motivates people into more argument based processing. High
fear must be paired with a strong argument for behaviour change.

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