Improving the Effectiveness of Mass-Mediated Health Campaigns: Overcoming Barriers to Risk Communication pp. 9-16
Authors: (Enny Das)
Abstract: In present times, individuals are affected most often by health conditions resulting from their own behaviors, such as smoking; unhealthy diets; insufficient physical exercise or unprotected sex. Mass-mediated health campaigns aim to change unhealthy habits by increasing perceptions of personal health risk, outcome expectancies regarding the potential success of health behavior change, or perceptions of self-efficacy. However, changing health behavior through mass-mediated campaigns has proven notoriously difficult and health education efforts often fail. Reasons for failure are the lack of insight into affective processes and defensive responses to health messages. Health behavior is not strictly rational in nature, and defensive responses present considerable barriers to health campaign impact by hindering open-minded cognitive processing of health messages. The present review discusses communication strategies that circumvent or decrease defensive responses: the use of narratives, positive emotions, and self-affirmation.