OU

Fear Appeals


DoD Joint Course in Communication

Abstract
Introduction
Method
Results
Discussion
References
Full Text
Authors
 
Definitions:
Fear Appeal
Severity

Susceptibility
Response Efficacy
Self-Efficacy
Content Analysis
 

 
Links:
AFIS
AFRTS
Univ. of Okla.
DefenseLink

Results


       The first research question concerned the Defense Departmentís use of fear appeal strategies in health and safety promotion messages.  Results indicate a considerable amount of military radio PSAs use fear when attempting to persuade listeners to adopt new health and safety practices (See Appendix D).  Of the 189 PSAs studied, 97 were health or safety related.  Of those 97 health or safety messages, 66 used some element of fear appeal in the message.  In total, 68 percent of the health and/or safety messages used some degree of fear appeal.  This is important because it confirms that the military is using fear appeals extensively.  The military should then carefully consider how to use them most effectively, which leads to the next research question.

       The second research question concerned the construction of the militaryís fear appeal messages.  Specifically, research question two was utilized to assess whether or not the fear appeal messages were being constructed based on sound theoretical principles.  Results indicate that an overwhelming number of the 66 fear appeal spots contained some degree of severity (n=58), susceptibility (n=64), response efficacy (n=59), and self-efficacy (n=55).

       In addition, results indicate that when self-efficacy was present, the action step was usually conveyed as "easy to perform" (n=53).  Finally, as Witte's (1992) model makes clear, it is not the presence of one of the variables that makes fear appeals successful, but the presence of all.  Therefore, the researchers looked at how many of the variables were concurrently present.  Results indicate that 62.1 percent (n=41) of the military fear appeal health messages contained all of the essential variables.  Appendix D displays the findings of the coders with respect to the variables present in the 66 fear messages examined.