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Discuss the effectiveness of one health promotion strategy - fear appeals.

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Introduction

´╗┐Frankie Kirkbride Discuss the effectiveness of one health promotion strategy (22 marks) Health promotion is defined by the world health organisation as ?the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health". Health promotion strategies are methods put in place in order to help people control and improve their health and lifestyle. An example of a health promotion strategy is fear appeals. Fear appeals are a health promotion strategy which aims to induce fear in an individual in order to alter behaviour to avoid the threat of the danger which they are in if they do not alter their behaviour. The fear induced in individuals is supposed to be uncomfortable enough to induce a change in their behaviour. Fear appeals may be ineffective if the individual finds that the cost, benefit or difficulty in acting is greater than the risk to the individual. ...read more.

Middle

Fear appeals were used more often than aesthetic appeals which accounted for 4.1% of the advertisements. This suggests that fear appeals are not the most effective way of promoting a health change in individuals; if this was the case it is likely that they would be used more often. The study however was only conducted in one country this suggests that the findings may only be relevant to the country it was conducted in and cannot give a general view on the use of fear appeals. Witte and Allen (2000) suggest that strong fear appeals produce high levels of perceived severity and susceptibility, and are more persuasive than low or weak fear appeals. They also found that strong fear appeals and high-efficacy messages produce the greatest levels of defensive responses. A study by Keller (1996) looks into anti-smoking campaigns and the level of fear necessary for fear appeals to be effective, findings suggested that the effectiveness of fear appeals is not only related to the ...read more.

Conclusion

Fear appeals can be considered unethical as many campaigns can be disturbing especially to young people. An example of this can be seen in many stop-smoking campaigns where the images are often graphic in order to induce sufficient fear in the individual; this may also cause distress to young children. For this reason fear appeals can be considered ineffective as it may not always be possible for a campaign to evoke enough fear as there is a risk of harm to children. In conclusion the effectiveness of fear appeals can largely rely on the individual. One campaign may have the correct emphasis on fear and possible solutions to alter the individual?s behaviour in order to avoid the threat of poor health. However these rely on the behaviour of the individual as one person who may consider a specific change in behaviour to be realistic another may not. This suggests that despite the fear appeal the individual will still assess the perceived severity and cost to them to perform the change in behaviour and that fear appeals may work for different types of individuals. ...read more.

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