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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 5 Diabetes is a serious disease. Although over 15 million people in the United States, about six percent of the population, have diabetes, and it is the seventh leading cause of death, it is not widely understood by the general population (ADA, 2002). Outcomes of interest in this paper include self-protective motivations, intentions to seek information about the disease, actual information seeking, knowledge acquisition, and behavioral intentions. These outcomes were chosen for two reasons. First, we wanted to replicate outcomes used in prior tests of the RPA framework. Second, the rationale for the RPA framework’s classification of individuals into the four groups is that risk perception and efficacy beliefs affect people’s self-protective motivations – that, when risk perception is low, greater efficacy beliefs induce people to take proactive measures, whereas lower efficacy beliefs dampen enthusiasm for self protection. Similarly, when risk perceptions are high, greater efficacy beliefs induce people to take action to combat the threat, whereas lower efficacy beliefs promote the avoidance of addressing the high-risk status. Thus, risk- and efficacy-induced changes in motivation comprise the necessary first step in order to document the central tenet of the RPA framework. The RPA framework also posits that self-protective motivations should be evaluated not only in terms of behavior change, but also in terms of desires to seek information – that individuals’ information-seeking intentions should be construed as indicators of their willingness to make requisite changes in behaviors. Furthermore, to the extent that individuals seek more information because of their risk- and efficacy-induced motivations, their knowledge about the health issue should also change. Finally, because health promotion efforts are ultimately interested in changing individuals’ behaviors, we will also investigate whether the four groups in the RPA framework differ in their intentions to change self-protective behaviors. Method

Authors: Rimal, Rajiv., Morrison, Dan. and Mitchell, Monique.
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The RPA Framework
5
Diabetes is a serious disease. Although over 15 million people in the United States, about six
percent of the population, have diabetes, and it is the seventh leading cause of death, it is not
widely understood by the general population (ADA, 2002).
Outcomes of interest in this paper include self-protective motivations, intentions to seek
information about the disease, actual information seeking, knowledge acquisition, and behavioral
intentions. These outcomes were chosen for two reasons. First, we wanted to replicate outcomes
used in prior tests of the RPA framework. Second, the rationale for the RPA framework’s
classification of individuals into the four groups is that risk perception and efficacy beliefs affect
people’s self-protective motivations – that, when risk perception is low, greater efficacy beliefs
induce people to take proactive measures, whereas lower efficacy beliefs dampen enthusiasm for
self protection. Similarly, when risk perceptions are high, greater efficacy beliefs induce people
to take action to combat the threat, whereas lower efficacy beliefs promote the avoidance of
addressing the high-risk status. Thus, risk- and efficacy-induced changes in motivation comprise
the necessary first step in order to document the central tenet of the RPA framework.
The RPA framework also posits that self-protective motivations should be evaluated not
only in terms of behavior change, but also in terms of desires to seek information – that
individuals’ information-seeking intentions should be construed as indicators of their willingness
to make requisite changes in behaviors. Furthermore, to the extent that individuals seek more
information because of their risk- and efficacy-induced motivations, their knowledge about the
health issue should also change. Finally, because health promotion efforts are ultimately
interested in changing individuals’ behaviors, we will also investigate whether the four groups in
the RPA framework differ in their intentions to change self-protective behaviors.
Method


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