Perceived risk as a moderator of the effectiveness of framed HIV-test promotion messages among women: A randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Objective: Researchers argue that gain-framed messages should be more effective for prevention behaviors, while loss frames should be more effective for detection behaviors (Rothman & Salovey, 1997). Evidence for this taxonomy has been mixed. This study examines whether the effects of gain- and loss-framed messages on HIV-testing intentions is moderated by perceived risk of a positive result. Method: This experiment was conducted online and utilized a single factor (frame: gain/loss) between subjects design, with a separate HIV-test promotion control and a no message control to examine whether perceived risk of a positive test result moderates the effects of framed messages on intentions to seek an HIV test in the next 3 months. The sample (N = 1052; M age = 22, SD = 2.22), recruited through Survey Sampling International, included 51% Black women (49% White women). Results: HIV-test promotion messages were more effective than no message, but there were no other main effects for condition. Results also demonstrated a significant interaction between message frame and perceived risk, which is mediated through elaborative processing of the message. The interaction demonstrated an advantage for the loss-framed message among women with some perceived risk and an advantage for the gain-framed message among women with low perceived risk. Conclusion: Results imply that the prevention/detection function of the behavior may be an inadequate distinction in the consideration of the effectiveness of framed messages promoting HIV testing. Rather, this study demonstrates that risk perceptions are an important moderator of framing effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Elaboration
  • Gain loss frame
  • HIV testing
  • Perceived risk
  • Prospect theory

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