Does perceived risk influence the effects of message framing? Revisiting the link between prospect theory and message framing

Jonathan Van ’t Riet, Anthony D. Cox, Dena Cox, Gregory Zimet, Gert Jan De Bruijn, Bas Van den Putte, Hein De Vries, Marieke Q. Werrij, Robert A C Ruiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Health-promoting messages can be framed in terms of the beneficial consequences of healthy behaviour (gain-framed messages) or the detrimental consequences of unhealthy behaviour (loss-framed messages). An influential notion holds that the perceived risk associated with the recommended behaviour determines the relative persuasiveness of gain- and loss-framed messages. This ‘risk-framing hypothesis’, which was derived from prospect theory, has been central to health message-framing research for the better part of two decades and has enduring appeal to researchers and practitioners. It has found its way into several health communication handbooks and is communicated to the general public. The present article examines the validity of the risk-framing hypothesis anew by providing a review of the health message-framing literature. In spite of its ongoing appeal, we conclude that the hypothesis has severe theoretical flaws. In addition, we find that the empirical evidence in favour of the hypothesis is weak and inconsistent. It seems that, in applying prospect theory’s tenets to a health-promotion context, some of the theory’s key aspects have been lost in translation. At the close of the article, we offer a research agenda for the future, arguing that, above all, new methodology is needed to bring the message-framing literature further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Psychology Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 27 2016

Fingerprint

Health
Health Communication
Health Promotion
Research
Research Personnel

Keywords

  • health behaviour
  • Message framing
  • persuasion
  • prospect theory
  • risk perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Does perceived risk influence the effects of message framing? Revisiting the link between prospect theory and message framing. / Riet, Jonathan Van ’t; Cox, Anthony D.; Cox, Dena; Zimet, Gregory; Bruijn, Gert Jan De; Van den Putte, Bas; De Vries, Hein; Werrij, Marieke Q.; Ruiter, Robert A C.

In: Health Psychology Review, 27.04.2016, p. 1-13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Riet, Jonathan Van ’t ; Cox, Anthony D. ; Cox, Dena ; Zimet, Gregory ; Bruijn, Gert Jan De ; Van den Putte, Bas ; De Vries, Hein ; Werrij, Marieke Q. ; Ruiter, Robert A C. / Does perceived risk influence the effects of message framing? Revisiting the link between prospect theory and message framing. In: Health Psychology Review. 2016 ; pp. 1-13.
@article{6cc0941ad0484b9db462a9199da47c5c,
title = "Does perceived risk influence the effects of message framing? Revisiting the link between prospect theory and message framing",
abstract = "Health-promoting messages can be framed in terms of the beneficial consequences of healthy behaviour (gain-framed messages) or the detrimental consequences of unhealthy behaviour (loss-framed messages). An influential notion holds that the perceived risk associated with the recommended behaviour determines the relative persuasiveness of gain- and loss-framed messages. This ‘risk-framing hypothesis’, which was derived from prospect theory, has been central to health message-framing research for the better part of two decades and has enduring appeal to researchers and practitioners. It has found its way into several health communication handbooks and is communicated to the general public. The present article examines the validity of the risk-framing hypothesis anew by providing a review of the health message-framing literature. In spite of its ongoing appeal, we conclude that the hypothesis has severe theoretical flaws. In addition, we find that the empirical evidence in favour of the hypothesis is weak and inconsistent. It seems that, in applying prospect theory’s tenets to a health-promotion context, some of the theory’s key aspects have been lost in translation. At the close of the article, we offer a research agenda for the future, arguing that, above all, new methodology is needed to bring the message-framing literature further.",
keywords = "health behaviour, Message framing, persuasion, prospect theory, risk perceptions",
author = "Riet, {Jonathan Van ’t} and Cox, {Anthony D.} and Dena Cox and Gregory Zimet and Bruijn, {Gert Jan De} and {Van den Putte}, Bas and {De Vries}, Hein and Werrij, {Marieke Q.} and Ruiter, {Robert A C}",
year = "2016",
month = "4",
day = "27",
doi = "10.1080/17437199.2016.1176865",
language = "English (US)",
pages = "1--13",
journal = "Health Psychology Review",
issn = "1743-7199",
publisher = "Routledge",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Does perceived risk influence the effects of message framing? Revisiting the link between prospect theory and message framing

AU - Riet, Jonathan Van ’t

AU - Cox, Anthony D.

AU - Cox, Dena

AU - Zimet, Gregory

AU - Bruijn, Gert Jan De

AU - Van den Putte, Bas

AU - De Vries, Hein

AU - Werrij, Marieke Q.

AU - Ruiter, Robert A C

PY - 2016/4/27

Y1 - 2016/4/27

N2 - Health-promoting messages can be framed in terms of the beneficial consequences of healthy behaviour (gain-framed messages) or the detrimental consequences of unhealthy behaviour (loss-framed messages). An influential notion holds that the perceived risk associated with the recommended behaviour determines the relative persuasiveness of gain- and loss-framed messages. This ‘risk-framing hypothesis’, which was derived from prospect theory, has been central to health message-framing research for the better part of two decades and has enduring appeal to researchers and practitioners. It has found its way into several health communication handbooks and is communicated to the general public. The present article examines the validity of the risk-framing hypothesis anew by providing a review of the health message-framing literature. In spite of its ongoing appeal, we conclude that the hypothesis has severe theoretical flaws. In addition, we find that the empirical evidence in favour of the hypothesis is weak and inconsistent. It seems that, in applying prospect theory’s tenets to a health-promotion context, some of the theory’s key aspects have been lost in translation. At the close of the article, we offer a research agenda for the future, arguing that, above all, new methodology is needed to bring the message-framing literature further.

AB - Health-promoting messages can be framed in terms of the beneficial consequences of healthy behaviour (gain-framed messages) or the detrimental consequences of unhealthy behaviour (loss-framed messages). An influential notion holds that the perceived risk associated with the recommended behaviour determines the relative persuasiveness of gain- and loss-framed messages. This ‘risk-framing hypothesis’, which was derived from prospect theory, has been central to health message-framing research for the better part of two decades and has enduring appeal to researchers and practitioners. It has found its way into several health communication handbooks and is communicated to the general public. The present article examines the validity of the risk-framing hypothesis anew by providing a review of the health message-framing literature. In spite of its ongoing appeal, we conclude that the hypothesis has severe theoretical flaws. In addition, we find that the empirical evidence in favour of the hypothesis is weak and inconsistent. It seems that, in applying prospect theory’s tenets to a health-promotion context, some of the theory’s key aspects have been lost in translation. At the close of the article, we offer a research agenda for the future, arguing that, above all, new methodology is needed to bring the message-framing literature further.

KW - health behaviour

KW - Message framing

KW - persuasion

KW - prospect theory

KW - risk perceptions

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84966662517&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84966662517&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/17437199.2016.1176865

DO - 10.1080/17437199.2016.1176865

M3 - Article

SP - 1

EP - 13

JO - Health Psychology Review

JF - Health Psychology Review

SN - 1743-7199

ER -