The prevalence of messages advocating weight management has likely resulted in considerable anti-obesity message fatigue but the phenomenon remains understudied. This study examined two aspects of antiobesity message fatigue: (1) effects of preexisting anti-obesity message fatigue on cognitive processing of an incoming anti-obesity message and (2) predictors and effects of message fatigue responses expressed after exposure to the message. Results from a two-wave online experiment involving overweight and obese adults in the U.S. (N = 251) showed that preexisting message fatigue (in wave 1) positively predicted counterarguments, while negatively predicting message-consistent and issue-relevant thoughts expressed after exposure to an anti-obesity message (in wave 2). Moreover, the experimental findings show that physical health frames generated greater message fatigue responses than mental health frames. Message fatigue responses, in turn, predicted more unfavorable attitude toward message recommendations, completely mediating the effects of physical health frames on attitude. Women and older participants were more likely to express anti-obesity message fatigue responses than their counterparts. These findings underscore the need to recognize message fatigue as a significant barrier to communicating health.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)