People are highly motivated to make scary risks less scary. If they know how to reduce a risk, they take the appropriate steps. On the other hand, if there is nothing they can do to reduce the risk, they reduce their fear instead by distancing themselves from the risk emotionally or denying it. Consequently, health messages in the form of fear appeals that don’t explain how to reduce a risk can backfire.
Witte, K. (1998) Fear as Motivation, Fear as Inhibition: Using the Extended Parallel Process Model to Explain Fear Appeal Successes and Failures (pp. 423-450) In: Handbook of communication and emotion: Research, theory, applications, and contexts. Peter A. Anderson & Laura K. Guerrero (eds.) Academic Press.
Self-efficacy, Response efficacy, Risk susceptibility appraisal, Risk severity appraisal
Fear reduction, Risk reduction
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