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Magnitude Matters: The Impact of Pandemic Threat Perceptions on the Effectiveness of Health Message Framing Across Countries

By Anthony K Asare, Tilottama Ghosh Chowdhury, Patricia Norberg, Jun Kang and Richard Bannor


Pandemic diseases are characterized as being highly contagious, where there is limited control and a threat of spreading globally. During a pandemic outbreak, hysteria and media hype make it difficult for medical authorities to get accurate and useful information to individuals to minimize the spread of the epidemic. This research investigates the impact of message framing on intentions to interact with health messages, taking into account perceived magnitude of the pandemic threat. The authors conduct research in three countries – U.S., China, and Ghana. Study 1 was a between-subjects design to examine the impact of message frame (positive, negative) in a call-to-action disease message on intentions to click for more information in Ghana, the U.S., and China. Study 2 was a 2 (message frame: positive, negative) by 3 perceived threat magnitude (high, moderate, low) between-subjects design to examine the impact of each variable on intentions to click for more information in China and the U.S. Findings show that magnitude matters in health message framing. Specifically, message framing effects are evident when the perceived magnitude of a threat is moderate

Topics: health communications, pandemics, message framing, call-to-action, digital advertising, International and cross-cultural business communication and negotiations, Global aspects of integrated marketing communications (IMC)
Publisher: DigitalCommons@EMU
Year: 2020
OAI identifier:

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