Matt Swayne | Futurity
Fear about health concerns may grip us, but a little hope might make us more willing to take preventative actions, according to researchers.
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.
“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,” says Jessica Myrick, associate professor of communications at 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.”