Limited awareness and low uptake rate of Human papillomavirus (HPV) prevention strategies among females require the development of more effective educational interventions. Regulatory focus theory posits the matching of framing valence with the recipients’ regulatory focus increases persuasiveness. Following regulatory focus theory, we examined how individual regulatory focus changed the effects of gain- and loss-framed messages on promoting consistent condom use and HPV DNA testing for HPV prevention. We also explored whether this interaction effect impacts the influences of target individuals’ initial attitudes about condom use and HPV DNA testing on post attitudes and intentions. Results of Study 1 showed that, in general, the gain-framed message fit with regulatory focus (i.e., promotion focus) promoted more positive attitudes about consistent condom use than the gain-framed message nonfit with their regulatory focus (i.e., prevention focus). Nevertheless, the gain-framed message nonfit with regulatory focus (i.e., prevention focus) strengthened the negative relationship between initial attitudes and intentions, which promoted the intentions to use condom consistently among people who initially held negative attitudes toward consistent condom use. In Study 2, we did not observe a significant interaction effect of message framing and regulatory focus in the HPV DNA testing context. However, we observed that the gain-framed message nonfit with regulatory focus (i.e., prevention focus) led to the changes in the significance of the initial attitudes–post attitudes relationship from significant to non-significant. Thus, the reliance on initial negative attitudes about HPV DNA testing in decision-making decreased. Theoretical and practical implications of our research were discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences