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Cervical Cancer Messages in Women’s Magazines: A Content Analysis Grounded in the Extended Parallel Process Model
Unformatted Document Text:  Cervical Cancer 7 or very unlikely to contract a sexually transmitted disease (Burak & Meyer, 1997). 2 Magazines, though not necessarily intended as persuasive material, certainly have a role in addressing such gaps in women’s knowledge, as well as an obligation to present messages that encourage women to seek potentially life-saving medical tests such as pap smears. The early research in fear appeals involved investigating the emotion of fear and subjects’ need to lessen the tension-inducing fear by either adopting adaptive (behavior change) or maladaptive (denial) techniques (see Janis, 1967). Leventhal (1970) expanded on this idea by developing a parallel response model. He argued that when presented with a threat, if individuals thought about strategies to avert the threat (cognitions), a threat control process was activated and adaptive attitudes, intentions, and/or behaviors resulted. In contrast, when individuals focused on the fear (emotions), they experienced a fear control process and maladaptive attitudes and/or behaviors were the likely result (i.e., denial and avoidance). Following Leventhal’s lead, Rogers (1975) developed the protection motivation theory (PMT), but focused solely on the cognitive aspects of threat control processes (thoughts about danger and how to prevent it). In response to continued work on the importance of efficacy (see Bandura, 1977; Beck, 1984), Maddux & Rogers (1983) further refined the PMT to include an efficacy component. Experimental evidence consistently found interaction effects between the presence of at least one of the threat variables and at least one of the efficacy variables in producing changes in attitudes, behaviors, or intentions (Maddux & Rogers, 1983; Witte, 1992). These results have been replicated in a variety of settings, establishing the important link between the presence of both threat and efficacy messages in persuasive attempts related to health behaviors and intentions (Witte, 1993).

Authors: Brown, Colleen. and Lewis, Melissa.
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Cervical Cancer 7
or very unlikely to contract a sexually transmitted disease (Burak & Meyer, 1997).
2
Magazines,
though not necessarily intended as persuasive material, certainly have a role in addressing such
gaps in women’s knowledge, as well as an obligation to present messages that encourage women
to seek potentially life-saving medical tests such as pap smears.
The early research in fear appeals involved investigating the emotion of fear and
subjects’ need to lessen the tension-inducing fear by either adopting adaptive (behavior change)
or maladaptive (denial) techniques (see Janis, 1967). Leventhal (1970) expanded on this idea by
developing a parallel response model. He argued that when presented with a threat, if
individuals thought about strategies to avert the threat (cognitions), a threat control process was
activated and adaptive attitudes, intentions, and/or behaviors resulted. In contrast, when
individuals focused on the fear (emotions), they experienced a fear control process and
maladaptive attitudes and/or behaviors were the likely result (i.e., denial and avoidance).
Following Leventhal’s lead, Rogers (1975) developed the protection motivation theory
(PMT), but focused solely on the cognitive aspects of threat control processes (thoughts about
danger and how to prevent it). In response to continued work on the importance of efficacy (see
Bandura, 1977; Beck, 1984), Maddux & Rogers (1983) further refined the PMT to include an
efficacy component. Experimental evidence consistently found interaction effects between the
presence of at least one of the threat variables and at least one of the efficacy variables in
producing changes in attitudes, behaviors, or intentions (Maddux & Rogers, 1983; Witte, 1992).
These results have been replicated in a variety of settings, establishing the important link
between the presence of both threat and efficacy messages in persuasive attempts related to
health behaviors and intentions (Witte, 1993).


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