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

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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  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. This is suggested by the Health Belief Model.  The Health Belief Model is a psychological model, which attempts to predict and explain health behaviours by focusing on the beliefs and attitudes of individuals. According to the health belief model, fear appeals can only be effective in causing an individual to change their behaviour in order to benefit their health if the individual perceives that they are at a significant risk and if the change in their behaviour is realistic to the individual and the cost is not too great.

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Fear appeals may be used to promote many different health campaigns to promote a healthier lifestyle, some examples include stop smoking campaigns, healthy eating campaigns and AIDS prevention. These campaigns can be presented in many different ways usually through the media. Huhmann and Brotherton (1997) conducted a study on advertising campaigns in magazines; they found that 4.8% of the 2769 advertisements studied contained fear appeals. This is less than other appeals such as humour and comparisons which accounted for 10.8% and 10% of the advertisements. Fear appeals were used more often than aesthetic appeals which accounted for 4.1% of the ...

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