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The Strategic Use of Gain- and Loss-Framed Messages to Promote Healthy Behavior: How Theory Can Inform Practice

Authors


Alexander J. Rothman; e-mail: rothm001@umn.edu.

Abstract

Message framing provides a theoretically grounded approach to the development of effective health messages. In this study, we review the state of research and theory on message framing (Rothman & Salovey, 1997), and how it can inform efforts to enhance health practices throughout the cancer care continuum. Gain-framed appeals are more effective when targeting behaviors that prevent the onset of disease, whereas loss-framed appeals are more effective when targeting behaviors that detect the presence of a disease. In light of these findings, we consider how message frames may affect other types of health behaviors and identify the need to understand better the processes that shape how people construe health behaviors.

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