Tailoring fear appeals to lower-educated adolescents: The influence of modality and type of threat?
Research on smoking behavior suggests that less well-educated adolescents are most susceptible to taking up smoking. This paper reports on an experiment that investigates the effects of adapting fear appeals to this target group. Threats were manipulated in terms of content (long-term health versus short-term cosmetic effects) and form (image versus text). Results demonstrated that, for long-term health fear appeals, text was considered as easier, and was better understood and evaluated, than image. These results illustrate the advantage of using fear texts over fear images when targeting less well-educated adolescents and the importance of adapting anti-smoking advertisements to this group.
Published online: 23 September 2013