Fear appeals, information processing, and behavioral intentions toward climate change

Shu-Chu Li*, Lin-Mei Stella Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined two variables in the fear-induced communication literature, namely, information-processing modes and the interactive effects of threat and efficacy, to fill an existing gap in the extended parallel process model (EPPM) research. The EPPM is the target of several criticisms, the most frequent of which is its lack of a description of how recipients process fear-appeal messages. The EPPM has also been criticized for proposing that a perceived threat exerts a positive effect on danger control outcomes only when recipients' perceived efficacy and perceived threat are high. However, this proposition has received mixed support. A field experiment was conducted, in which a telephone survey was used to collect data in Taiwan, and 801 valid questionnaires were obtained. The data analysis yields three conclusions: (1) this study found that the perceived threat and perceived efficacy of the fear appeals were significantly correlated with respondents' use of a systematic mode of information processing; (2) adding a systematic-processing mode to the EPPM greatly increased the persuasive effects of fear-appeal messages on behavioral intentions; and (3) there were interactive effects of perceived threat and perceived efficacy with the high-threat/high-efficacy group being the only group achieved persuasive outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-260
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Journal of Communication
Volume30
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • fear appeals
  • information-processing modes
  • interactive effects of threat and efficacy
  • the extended parallel process model
  • PARALLEL PROCESS MODEL
  • COGNITIVE APPRAISAL THEORY
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • EMOTION
  • EPPM
  • COMMUNICATION
  • ACCEPTANCE
  • SEEKING
  • RISK

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