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The role of dispositional factors in moderating message framing effects

Covey, J

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Objective: Health messages can be framed in terms of the benefits of adopting a recommendation (gain frame) or the costs of not adopting a recommendation (loss frame). In recent years, research has demonstrated that the relative persuasiveness of gain and loss frames can depend on a variety of dispositional factors. This article synthesizes this growing literature to develop our understanding of the moderators of framing. Method: A systematic review of published literature on gain and loss framing was conducted. Articles were retrieved that tested the interaction between framing and moderators representing individual differences in how people are predisposed to think, feel, and behave. The significance and direction of framing main effects and interactions were noted and effect size data extracted where available. Results: Forty-seven reports published between January 1990 and January 2012 were retrieved that reported on 50 unique experiments testing 23 different moderators. Significant interactions with typically small to medium simple main effect sizes were found in 37 of the 50 studies. Consistent interactions were found for factors such as ambivalence, approach–avoidance motivation, regulatory focus, need for cognition, and self-efficacy beliefs. Less consistent effects were found for perceived riskiness of activity, issue involvement, and perceived susceptibility/severity. Conclusion: The relative effectiveness of gain- or loss-framed messages can depend on the disposition of the message recipient. Tailoring the frame to the individual therefore has the potential to maximize message persuasiveness.


Covey, J. (2014). The role of dispositional factors in moderating message framing effects. Health Psychology, 33(1), 52-65.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 16, 2012
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Apr 17, 2012
Publicly Available Date Mar 13, 2014
Journal Health Psychology
Print ISSN 0278-6133
Electronic ISSN 1930-7810
Publisher American Psychological Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 1
Pages 52-65


Accepted Journal Article (809 Kb)

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© 2014 APA, all rights reserved. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.

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