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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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26

Using Message Framing in Health-Related Persuasion

Theory and Evidence

Xiaoli Nan

ABSTRACT

This chapter provides a review of theory and evidence concerning the relative persuasiveness of gain- versus loss-framed messages in health contexts, with particular attention to research surrounding proposed moderators of message framing effects, including type of health behavior advocated, message recipients' involvement with the health issue and approach/avoidance tendency, and desirability of the end-state emphasized in the message. The review suggests that several theoretical perspectives including prospect theory, dual-process theories, and regulatory focus theory have been used to explain message framing effects. It is argued that there has been a lack of effort to integrate the different theoretical perspectives into a broader framework based on which the relative effects of message framing can be understood. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the current state of research and directions for future studies.

Defining Message Framing

Developing effective messages is central to the planning of public communication campaigns (see Chapter 24, this volume). Many communication campaigns address public health issues. One of the most important aspects of designing health messages is to determine how to present information in a way that achieves maximum persuasive impact. Research on message framing conducted in the past fifteen years or so has shown that factually equivalent ...

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