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
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.
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