Hendriks, H., Van den Putte, B., & De Bruijn, G.-J. (2014). Changing the conversation: The influence of emotions on conversational valence and alcohol consumption. Prevention Science, 15(5), 684-693. doi:10.1007/s11121-013-0418-2

Health campaign effects may be improved by taking interpersonal communication processes into account. The current study, which employed an experimental, pretest-posttest, randomized exposure design (N = 208), investigated whether the emotions induced by anti-alcohol messages influence conversational valence about alcohol and subsequent persuasion outcomes. The study produced three main findings. First, an increase in the emotion fear induced a negative conversational valence about alcohol. Second, fear was most strongly induced by a disgusting message, whereas a humorous appeal induced the least fear. Third, a negative conversational valence elicited healthier binge drinking attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, intentions, and behaviors. Thus, health campaign planners and health researchers should pay special attention to the emotional characteristics of health messages and should focus on inducing a healthy conversational valence.

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