Health message framing : motivating cardiovascular risk factor screening in young adults. Page: I
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Link-Malcolm, Jessica. Health message framing: Motivating cardiovascular risk factor
screening in young adults. Doctor of Philosophy (Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine),
August 2008, 82 pp., 9 tables, references, 52 titles.
As the leading cause of death in the United States, coronary heart disease (CHD) is a
growing public health problem, despite the fact that many risk factors for the disease are
preventable, especially if addressed early in life. The purpose of the current study was to examine
the effects of loss-framed versus gain-framed versus information-only health messages on both
intention to attend and actual attendance at an appointment to get screened for CHD risk factors
(i.e., hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia). It was hypothesized that a population of young
adults would be more likely to view screening for CHD risk factors as a low-risk, health-affirming
behavior as opposed to a risky, illness-detecting behavior and would thus be more strongly
influenced by gain-framed messages than loss-framed messages. Additional goals included the
exploration of the extensively researched individual health beliefs of perceived threat (as defined
by the health belief model) and health locus of control as they relate to message frames.
One hundred forty-three undergraduate students were randomly assigned to either the loss-
framed, gain-framed, or information-only control conditions. Framing manipulation checks
revealed that participants failed to discern differences in the tone and emphasis of the experimental
pamphlets. As a result, no tests of framing effects could be conducted. Sixteen (11.2%) of the 143
participants who participated in Part 1 of the experiment participated in Part 2 (i.e., attended a risk
factor screening appointment). Multiple regression analysis revealed risk index, age, and powerful
others health locus of control as significant predictors of screening intention. Gender was the only
demographic or health related variable that was significantly related to screening outcome, such
that women were more likely to get screened than men. Limitations and recommendations are
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Link-Malcolm, Jessica. Health message framing : motivating cardiovascular risk factor screening in young adults., dissertation, August 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9066/m1/2/: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .