This study examined the influence of regulatory focus and medical recommendation avatars' trustworthiness in avatar-based e-health within 3D virtual environments (VEs). Drawing on Higgins's regulatory focus theory and the existing literature on self-construal, a 2×2 (regulatory focus: promotion vs. prevention by interdependent self-construal: low vs. high) between-participants factorial design experiment tested the moderating role of health consumers' interdependent self-construal in determining the effects of regulatory focus in VE-based e-health. Results showed an interaction effect of regulatory focus and interdependent self-construal such that VE users with a dominant interdependent self-construal indicated greater issue familiarity and involvement when exposed to a prevention-focused e-health intervention than when exposed to a promotion-focused e-health intervention, whereas the effects of regulatory focus on issue familiarity and involvement among users low in interdependent self-construal demonstrated the opposite pattern. A path analysis further revealed that VE users' evaluation of a medical recommendation avatar's trustworthiness mediated the effects regulatory focus had on their perceived informational and educational values of the health messages. Theoretical contributions and practical implications for VE-based e-health applications are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Computer Science Applications