A fear appeal message is a persuasive message that attempts to arouse fear in order to change or redirect behavior through the threat of impending danger or harm. A fear appeal message presents a risk, emphasizes vulnerability to the risk, and then describes a suggested form of protective action.

Using a fear appeal will only be effective if there is a strong perceived threat and a strong efficacy component. The following are some possible responses to a fear appeal message.

  • No response. If the perceived susceptibility is low or the perceived severity of the consequences is low, then you will not respond in the manner the advertisement message desires. You either just do not think the danger will happen or it will not be that bad if it does happen. An example of this can be a fear appeal talking about getting the flu shot. For many getting the flu is not that big of a concern to be afraid of to warrant getting the flu shot.
  • Fear control response. In this situation, the perceived threat is greater than the perceived efficacy. In other words, you may believe that you are susceptible to a threat and believe that it will have severe consequences, but you do not believe that the recommended action will be effective to prevent the harm or you do not believe you have the ability to take effective action against the threat. An example of this may be developing cancer. Many people think that they will get cancer no matter what they do to prevent it.
  • Danger control response. If you believe the perceived threat is high, the recommended action will be effective, and believe you can effectively engage in the action, then you will tend to pursue the recommended action. This is the ideal balance in terms of crafting a fear appeal message. The designed message gets the individual’s attention and they feel that the preventative activity or behavior change can be effective and is doable. An example of this can be a health campaign addressing oral health issues that involve flossing or teeth brushing.

For this Discussion, search the Internet and/or print media and select a fear appeal message on a health issue. Consider the effectiveness of the fear appeal message. Think about how you might use fear appeal messages in your health communication campaign.

My choice of health communication campaign would be the prevention campaign against HIV/AIDS, through the mass media. The campaign will help people have an increase in knowledge about sex, change of sexual behaviors, improve in risk perception, as well as criticism of hypothetically risky social norms. The campaign aims to utilize television, radio, as well as other ideally means a fragment of the multi-level exertions.

Post a description of the fear appeal message that you selected. Be sure to provide the link or full citation for the fear appeal message that you have selected. Then, identify the fear approach used in the fear appeal message. Explain whether you think it was an effective message to change health behavior and why. Justify your rationale. Then, explain how you might use this fear approach in your health communication campaign. Be specific and provide examples

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