Abstract: To decrease the prevalence and the amount of alcohol consumption among students, health messages advocating responsible alcohol behavior can be used. However, it is unclear whether responsible drinking messages are most effective when they use a gain frame, presenting the advantages of responsible drinking, or a loss frame, presenting the disadvantages of irresponsible drinking. This study tests the effects of framing and the moderating role of involvement with the issue of responsible drinking. A three-wave, between-subjects, experimental study was conducted, in which participants (N = 90) were exposed to either a gain- or loss-framed message about responsible drinking behavior at Wave 2. At all three waves, attitudes, intentions and behavior toward responsible drinking were measured. Results showed that for participants with low issue- involvement, a gain frame led to more positive attitudes and intentions toward responsible alcohol use, whereas a loss frame did not have any effects for them. For participants with high issue involvement, a loss frame led to more positive attitudes and intentions toward responsible alcohol use, whereas a gain frame did not have an effect on attitude and only a delayed effect on intention. However, there were no effects of frame and issue involvement on adhering to the guideline of responsible alcohol use and average drinking behavior.
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