Healthy Living - Methods of Health Promotion - Fear Arousal - Janis and Feshbach

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Fear Arousal - Janis and Feshbach

Janis and Feshbach - Fear arousal is a key feature of many health promotion campaigns. It works by letting people know bad things will happen to them unless they change their ways e.g. getting cancer from smoking. Strong fear e.g. getting cancr from smoking; Mod fear e.g. physical/visual problems; Min fear e.g. bad breath

Aim/M&P: To investigate the impact of fear arousal on a health campaign; Lab experiment; independent measures design; students from a US high school; 4 groups; lecture on dental hygiene; Strong fear appeal; Moderate fear appeal; Minimal fear appeal; lecture on human eye (control group)

Strong = "This could happen to you"; Moderate = Factual; less info on dental hygiene; Minimal = Using x-rays and diagrams rather than emotive pictures; Control group = Lecture on human eye

Results: Strong fear = 8% improvement; Moderate fear = 22% improvement; Minimal fear = 36% improvement; Control 0% = improvement

Conclusion: Strong fear appeal is effective at creating worry and anxiety and was rated as most intersting. But overall campaigns of a health promotion is more likely to reduce use of strong fear appeal as being over-exposed reduces effectiveness and can stop the message getting across. Therefore, minimal fear is more reliable.

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