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Risk and Efficacy as Motivators of Change: Test of the Risk Perception Attitude (RPA) Framework
Unformatted Document Text:  The RPA Framework 25 according to the level of threat and efficacy information they contain, will we observe resonance (i.e., a matching of risk and efficacy between recipient and message) or compensation (a preference for the opposite type of message)? A test of these two competing hypotheses could be conducted by developing four sets of messages (ones that highlight the risk, play down the risk, highlight efficacious responses, or play down efficacious responses, respectively) and determining how the four RPA groups respond to them. Another set of questions could focus on variables that help us predict individuals = membership in one of the four RPA groups. That is, whereas this article focuses on the effects of membership in the various RPA groups, we could raise questions about factors that cause membership in the various RPA groups. The RPA framework is designed to provide a road map for understanding some of these issues. Even though our study demonstrated that individuals can be meaningfully categorized according to the RPA framework, we do not mean to suggest that placement in the RPA framework is an individual-difference phenomenon that is invariant. On the contrary, we have demonstrated that risk perception and efficacy beliefs can be manipulated such that individuals = placement in the RPA framework can be varied. In fact, we are not the first to point out that risk perception (e.g., Weinstein, 1983) and efficacy beliefs (Maibach & Murphy, 1995) are situational constructs. We do believe, however, that for a given health domain, at a given point in time, individuals can be strategically assigned to one of the four attitudinal groups in order to study how they are differentially motivated, how they vary in their desires to seek information, and the extent to which they engage in healthy behaviors.

Authors: Rimal, Rajiv., Morrison, Dan. and Mitchell, Monique.
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The RPA Framework
25
according to the level of threat and efficacy information they contain, will we observe resonance
(i.e., a matching of risk and efficacy between recipient and message) or compensation (a
preference for the opposite type of message)? A test of these two competing hypotheses could be
conducted by developing four sets of messages (ones that highlight the risk, play down the risk,
highlight efficacious responses, or play down efficacious responses, respectively) and
determining how the four RPA groups respond to them. Another set of questions could focus on
variables that help us predict individuals
=
membership in one of the four RPA groups. That is,
whereas this article focuses on the effects of membership in the various RPA groups, we could
raise questions about factors that cause membership in the various RPA groups. The RPA
framework is designed to provide a road map for understanding some of these issues.
Even though our study demonstrated that individuals can be meaningfully categorized
according to the RPA framework, we do not mean to suggest that placement in the RPA
framework is an individual-difference phenomenon that is invariant. On the contrary, we have
demonstrated that risk perception and efficacy beliefs can be manipulated such that individuals
=
placement in the RPA framework can be varied. In fact, we are not the first to point out that risk
perception (e.g., Weinstein, 1983) and efficacy beliefs (Maibach & Murphy, 1995) are
situational constructs. We do believe, however, that for a given health domain, at a given point
in time, individuals can be strategically assigned to one of the four attitudinal groups in order to
study how they are differentially motivated, how they vary in their desires to seek information,
and the extent to which they engage in healthy behaviors.


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