The Persuasive Influence of Emotion in Cancer Prevention and Detection Messages


James Price Dillard or Robin L. Nabi; e-mail: (J.P.D.) or (R.L.N.).


This paper reviews and summarizes the literature on the relationship between emotion and persuasion as it bears on the production of cancer prevention and detection messages. A series of propositions are presented that serve to illustrate the intricacies of the emotion–persuasion relationship. These propositions deal with the necessary conditions for emotional arousal, individual differences in emotional reactivity to cancer messages, the potential for emotion-inducing messages to produce persuasive and counterpersuasive effects, the conditions that circumscribe the influence of emotions on persuasion, and the mechanisms by which that influence is achieved. To the extent that the literature permits, advice on message design is offered.