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Does message framing affect changes in behavioural intentions in people with psoriasis? A randomized exploratory study examining health risk communication

Keyworth, C., Nelson, P. A., Bundy, C., Pye, S. R., Griffiths, C. E. M. and Cordingley, L. 2018. Does message framing affect changes in behavioural intentions in people with psoriasis? A randomized exploratory study examining health risk communication. Psychology, Health and Medicine 23 (7) , pp. 763-778. 10.1080/13548506.2018.1427876

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Message framing is important in health communication research to encourage behaviour change. Psoriasis, a long-term inflammatory skin condition, has additional comorbidities including high levels of anxiety and cardiovascular disease (CVD), making message framing particularly important. This experimental study aimed to: (1) identify whether health messages about psoriasis presented as either gain- or loss-framed were more effective for prompting changes in behavioural intentions (BI), (2) examine whether BI were driven by a desire to improve psoriasis or reduce CVD risk; (3) examine emotional reactions to message frame; and (4) examine predictors of BI. A two by two experiment examined the effects on BI of message frame (loss vs. gain) and message focus (psoriasis symptom reduction vs. CVD risk reduction). Participants with psoriasis (n = 217) were randomly allocated to one of four evidence-based health messages related to either smoking, alcohol, diet or physical activity, using an online questionnaire. BI was the primary outcome. Analysis of variance tests and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted. A significant frame by focus interaction was found for BI to reduce alcohol intake (p = .023); loss-framed messages were more effective for CVD risk reduction information, whilst gain-framed messages were more effective for psoriasis symptom reduction information. Message framing effects were not found for BI for increased physical activity and improving diet. High CVD risk was a significant predictor of increased BI for both alcohol reduction (β = .290, p < .01) and increased physical activity (β = −.231, p < .001). Message framing may be an important factor to consider depending on the health benefit emphasised (disease symptom reduction or CVD risk reduction) and patient-stated priorities. Condition-specific health messages in psoriasis populations may increase the likelihood of message effectiveness for alcohol reduction.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1354-8506
Funders: NIHR
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 8 January 2018
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2020 16:00

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