About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Yes You Can Protect Yourself from Cancer - Hope is Stronger Than Fear

by Chrisy Ngilneii on February 24, 2018 at 3:30 PM
Font : A-A+

Yes You Can Protect Yourself from Cancer - Hope is Stronger Than Fear

Health campaigns that tell people what they can do to protect themselves from diseases are more successful than awareness campaigns without messages of hope, recent research finds.

In two studies, hope and self-efficacy, the belief that a person can help themselves, significantly predicted intentions to take actions against skin cancer, such as wearing sunscreen or protective clothing.

Advertisement


"With health messages, it's not enough just to tell people, or merely educate them, you need to motivate them, and emotions are really good motivators," said Jessica Myrick, associate professor of communications, Penn State. "We often think of emotions as irrational, but what our research is pointing to is that emotions can help us do the things that will keep us healthy and safe, so it's important to understand the broad scope of emotional responses to different type of messages and messaging components."

According to the researchers, previous work indicated that while fear can grab attention and create awareness about a health problem, it might not necessarily lead to behaviors that could help people tackle the problem.
Advertisement

"There's a lot of interesting work done on fear appeals, but we were wondering, if you're going to tell people how to prevent something scary from happening, that might generate hope," said Myrick. "We don't understand a lot empirically about how shifting from being scared of something in a message to then being told how to fix it, or prevent it, might shift the emotional state from fear to hope."

Fear and hope may work together to create more persuasive messages, said Myrick, who worked with Robin Nabi, professor of media effects and health communication, University of California, Santa Barbara.

"We can think of hope and fear as the carrot and the stick," said Nabi. "Either one alone could be effective. But the two together may be an especially winning combination."

In the first study, 341 participants, whose ages ranged from 17 to 72 years old, were recruited from Amazon's online task-completion platform, Mechanical Turk. The participants reviewed and reacted to an article about skin cancer from a web page designed to resemble a page on the health site WebMD.

The article was divided into three sections with the subheads: "How susceptible are most of us to skin cancer?", "How severe is skin cancer?" and "What actions can we take to prevent skin cancer and how effective are those measures?" The subsections of the message reflect factors that can drive persuasive health messaging results, including whether a person feels susceptible to the condition, whether they believe the condition is serious, severity, and whether they believe that help exists and that they have access to that help, according to the researchers.

After reviewing the message, the participants reported on emotions they felt about the article, including hopeful, optimistic and encouraged, all emotions that the researchers considered hope states.

Self-efficacy and hope did serve as significant predictors of sun safety intentions.

In a second study, 382 undergraduate college students were recruited to watch a melanoma awareness video and then answer a series of questions about the video. A total of 367 students completed a follow-up survey sent a week later to determine if the participants engaged in any sun safety behaviors.

The findings in the second study indicated that hope played a role in adopting sun safety measures and that even a week later, the participants were engaged in those safety behaviors.

Myrick said that adding hope to messages not only may create more persuasive messages, it also may be more ethical.

"You don't just want to leave people in a state of fear," said Myrick. "You want to give them possible solutions to help."

According to the researchers, future work may look at not just thinking about designing singular messages, but understanding the greater message environment, including how health fears are reported in the media.

"This study is a nice early step in looking at the complex dance between different types of emotions and cognitions so that we can better promote public health," Myrick said. "And maybe this leads to ways to design other health campaigns, for instance, for influenza vaccination campaigns, that work in concert with the fear that is generated by news coverage to try to give people some hope and help them remember the things they can do daily, get a vaccine, wash your hands, and don't go to school when you're sick."

The studies are published in the journal Health Communications.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cancer and Homeopathy Cancer Facts Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Xenophobia Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant Paranoia Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment Non-Communicable Diseases 

Recommended Reading
Skin Disease
Skin diseases also known as dermatologic disorders are many in number and so are their causes. The ....
Breast Cancer Management: Advances
The crab that invades the breast is no more a fear factor with all the advancements that medical ......
Cervical Cancer
Cancer cervix refers to cancerous growth in the cervix and usually occurs in the transition called ...
Smoking And Cancer
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of cancer in the world....
Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases
Cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity are some of the most...
Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant
What is dandelion? Dandelion greens are nutrition powerhouses with a wide range of health benefits. ...
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are promising drugs to treat a variety of cancers and the FDA has appro...
Non-Communicable Diseases
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are a group of chronic non-infectious diseases which include Cardio...
Paranoia
Paranoia is a false belief where the individual feels unfairly targeted or persecuted by everyone el...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...
Xenophobia
Xenophobia can be studied from two different perspectives. First as a medical condition ‘phobia’ sec...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use