The Impact of Self-affirmation and Information Type on Message Acceptance, Intentions and Behaviour.
K. Fox1, P.R. Harris1, D. Jessop1
1University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Background: Self-affirmation, the process of reflecting on important self-attributes, such as core values, has been found to reduce resistance to personally relevant health-risk information. However, little is known about whether it interacts with different types of health information to affect outcomes. The current study examined whether the effects of self-affirmation differed according to whether health information was presented as (a) a narrative account or (b) non-narrative data. Methods: In an online study, females (N = 132) were randomly allocated to condition resulting in a 2 x 2 design (Affirmation, No Affirmation x Narrative, Non-Narrative). Participants then completed measures assessing indicators of message acceptance and motivation. Alcohol consumption was assessed at 7-day follow up. Findings: Self-affirmation (vs. no-affirmation) reduced message derogation and counter-arguing to the narrative but not the non-narrative information. Self-affirmation increased message acceptance, while narrative information increased negative affect. Discussion: This study has implications for understanding how the effects of self-affirmation may be influenced by information type.