Preventing the Spread of Genital Warts: Using Fear Appeals to Promote Self-Protective Behaviors

Kim Witte*, Judy M. Berkowitz, Kenzie A. Cameron, Janet K. McKeon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations

Abstract

A fear appeal campaign to decrease the spread of genital warts was conducted and evaluated. Theoretically guided by the Extended Parallel Process Model, this field study illustrated why fear appeal campaigns often appear to fail in public health arenas. Five hypotheses, which predicted when and under what conditions fear appeal campaigns would fail or succeed, were tested and supported. The results demonstrated that fear appeals can be powerful persuasive devices if they induce strong perceptions of threat and fear (which motivate action) and if they induce strong perceptions of efficacy with regard to a recommended response (which channels the action in a health protective direction). Recommendations to researchers and public health practitioners are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-585
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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