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Effective Health Risk Messages

Effective Health Risk Messages
A Step-By-Step Guide

April 2001 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Winner of the Distinguished Book Award by the Applied Communication Division of the National Communication Association, 2001

Effective Health Risk Messages provides step-by-step instructions for developing theoretically based campaigns that work. Readers will learn about message development theories, formative and summative evaluation, and even basic research designs for evaluating your campaign. Worksheets are provided at the end of each chapter to provide readers with hands-on, practical experiences in developing effective health risk messages. This book is suitable for practitioners, researchers, and students alike, and can act as a stand-alone text or supplementary text for persuasion, public health, advertising, and marketing classes.

1. What Are Health Risk Messages?
Health Risk Messages Defined

What's a Theory?

The Components of a Fear Appeal

Explicit versus Implicit Messages

The Use of Culturally Based Colloquialisms

Types of Threats


2. History of Health Risk Messages: Fear Appeal Theories from 1953 to 1991
Fear-as-Acquired Drive Model

The Parallel Process Model

Protection Motivation Theory



3. Putting It All Together
The Overall Model

The Depiction of the Model

Comparisons with Other Models

Research on the EPPM

4. Useful Concepts from Other Theories
The Health Belief Model

The Theory of Reasoned Action

Social-Cognitive Theory

Elaboration Likelihood Model

Stages of Change Model

Social Marketing


5. Starting Out the Right Way: Formative Research
Setting Goals and Objectives: The Campaign Plan

Formative Research

The Persuasive Health Message (PHM) Framework

Putting Transients and Constants Together

Gathering Information for the Persuasive Health Message Framework

Categorizing Audience Beliefs: A Chart to Guide Message Development


6. The Risk Behavior Diagnosis Scale
The Origin of the RBD Scale

Theoretical Basis for Expanding the EPPM

The RBD Scale

Tailored Health Risk Messages

Some Additional Guidelines


7. Out of the Tower and Into the Field
Using the RBD at a Campus Health Clinic: Background


8. Data Collection
Types of Evaluation

Gathering Data for the Evaluation

Data Collection Methods

Reliability and Validity

Sample Size


9. Data Analysis
Analyzing Data


10. Getting the Message Out
A Plan of Action

Message of Dissemination Issues

Specific Channels



Suggested Readings
About the Authors

"While library shelves are spilling over with books and manuals on designing effective campaign messages, few are as theoretically grounded and user friendly (a rare combination) as Effective Health Risk Messages:  A Step-by-Step Guide..."

Arvind Singhal
Professor and Presidential Research Scholar, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives

Old language and references.

Dr Lindsay Welch
School of Nursing & Midwifery, Southampton University
May 7, 2021

This will offer a good tutor workbook, but offers mainly an American perspective on risk and risk messages. Perhaps too clinical for an applied health degree.

Miss Shelly Haslam
Faculty of Health, Edge Hill University
June 19, 2014

Excellant text

Mr Helen Matthews
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare, University of West London
May 22, 2014

The text was a bit outdated for the purpose of the course.

Mrs Bethney Wilson
Communication Dept, University of Kentucky
September 16, 2013

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.