Meta-analysis of anger and persuasion: An empirical integration of four models

Nathan Walter*, Riva Tukachinsky, Ayellet Pelled, Robin Nabi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Despite the increasing use of anger in persuasive messaging, such as political ads and health campaigns, very little is known about when and how anger affects persuasion. Building on theoretical propositions derived from four theoretical models that have addressed the link between anger and persuasion, the current meta-analysis (k = 55, N = 6,805) finds a weak impact of anger on behavior (r = .15, p = .04) and nonsignifi-cant effects on attitudes (r = −.03, p = .30) and intent (r = .06, p = .13). Yet a closer look reveals a more complicated reality, where positive effects are identified with the presence of strong arguments, relevant anger, and the inclusion of efficacy appeals. Further, the study identifies an interplay between emotional intensity and argument strength, such that argument strength plays an important role only at lower levels of anger. The study concludes by integrating the results and proposing three promising areas for future research into anger and persuasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-93
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Anger
  • Emotional Appeals
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Models of Persuasion
  • Persuasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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