The extant empirical research examining the effectiveness of statistical and exemplar-based health information is largely inconsistent. Under the premise that the inconsistency may be due to an unacknowledged moderator (O’Keefe, 2002), this study examined a moderating role of outcome-relevant involvement (Johnson & Eagly, 1989) in the effects of statistical and exemplified risk information on risk perception. Consistent with predictions based on elaboration likelihood model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1984), findings from an experiment (N = 237) concerning alcohol consumption risks showed that statistical risk information predicted risk perceptions of individuals with high, rather than low, involvement, while exemplified risk information predicted risk perceptions of those with low, rather than high, involvement. Moreover, statistical risk information contributed to negative attitude toward drinking via increased risk perception only for highly involved individuals, while exemplified risk information influenced the attitude through the same mechanism only for individuals with low involvement. Theoretical and practical implications for health risk communication are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences