Fear Appeals Persuasive Health Message Framework
Kim Witte, The Persuasive Health Message Framework • Framework = Combine parts of successful theories into a single framework. A framework differs from a theory in that it does not attempt to explain human behavior, it simply outlines what one should do to develop the most effective and persuasive campaigns.
PHM • combines elements from: • theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Azjen, 1975) • elaboration likelihood model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) • protection motivation theory (Rogers, 1983)
PHM elements • Threat message • Perceived risk • Audience must feel susceptible to threat • Perceived severeity • Audience must perceive threat as severe (BUT, must not overpower efficacy or will create backlash of fear, defense) • Efficacy message • Self-efficacy • Self-confidence in one’s own ability to carry out behavior • Response-effiacy • Belief in the recommended response’s effectiveness
Message Cues • peripheral cues (credibility/attractiveness of source) • peripheral processing happens when people are uninvolved with the topic or message; used to catch attention • central cues (arguments in content) • central processing occurs when topic is relevant and seen as important; used after attention is gotten • message variables (source and appeal) • most message variables tend to be processed peripherally
Targeting to Audience • Audience profile – • it is important that message fit audience’s demographic, psychographic, cultural beliefs and values, etc. • Salient beliefs • beliefs about the threat and efficacy of recommended response • Salient referents • beliefs about what is important to others, what others believe about the threat, and how important those others’ views are to the target individual • Culture and environment preferences • demographic, psychographics; potential logistical barriers; media channel preferences; etc.
Theory of Reasoned Action • Fishbein & Azjen: • to change behavior you must change underlying salient beliefs, identify which salient beliefs counter the recommended behavior, and determine and address salient referents/social norms – then design message.
Using PHM • Three-step process: • Determine information about threat and efficacy • Develop audience profile • Construct persuasive message
Step 1 • Determining info about threat and efficacy • determine salient beliefs and salient referents • specify behavioral goal (recommended response) • clearly identify target audience (original research or lit review, see tables 8.1-2; see Appendix for sample survey for salient beliefs). • Barriers to self-efficacy are especially important to determine and must be addressed in the message.
Step 2 • Audience profile is developed – • assess audience cultural and environmental information to develop cues • use census records, survey research, interviews • channel, message and source preferences must be identified.
Step 3 • Persuasive message is constructed – • must fit with salient beliefs, salient referents and specific audience (transient components) • can try to reinforce existing beliefs, change beliefs, or introduce new beliefs • reinforcement is easiest • frame recommendation within audience’s current belief system.
Prior Research • Campaign to promote specific safety behaviors among farmers • Salient beliefs: • Injuries are common and severe, but susceptibility is low (farmers don’t feel at personal risk). • Believe that safety measures are effective, and feel self-efficacy for doing safety measures, but don’t necessarily use them. • High perceived severity • Low perceived risk (susceptibility)
Farmers’ campaign (cont’d) • Preferred channel: • Manufacturer’s safety manual • Preferred source: • Equipment company • Message concept: • Perceived susceptibility needs to be changed. Other beliefs should be reinforced. Need to target specific behaviors.