Emotional Certainty and Health Communications
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At risk individuals tend to avoid information that might perturb their sense of security. I propose certainty appraisal as an important emotional dimension that affects health message processing and persuasion. Specifically, I suggest that emotions high on certainty appraisal can provide confidence to cope with the insecurity instigated by threatening health communications. Five studies are proposed to demonstrate the interaction of certainty appraisal with two health message characteristics: vulnerability to threat and response efficacy. Studies 1-3 provide evidence that when a health threat is highly self-relevant uncertainty related emotions impede processing whereas certainty related emotions facilitate it. Studies 4-5 show that individuals who are feeling uncertain prefer to attend a high efficacy message as it offers reassurance via useful recommendations. The findings extend affect regulation theories to involve emotional uncertainty as a state to be "repaired" by avoiding further deterioration or striving for restoration.
- Doctoral Dissertations