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The Effects of Fear Appeal and Humour on the Willingness to Take Risk-Mitigating Actions in a Flood Scenario

Pfeiffer, C.A. (2019) The Effects of Fear Appeal and Humour on the Willingness to Take Risk-Mitigating Actions in a Flood Scenario.

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Abstract:As rising sea levels and resulting floods become a problem of ever-increasing scope, the employment of risk communication is of great importance to enhance one’s individual flood risk management to take risk-mitigating actions. Many risk communication messages contain the common fear appeal approach to create awareness of a risk. However, the fear appeal approach as a type of risk communication does not necessarily provide a one-size-fits-all solution since not all people are equally receptive to messages of risk communication. Therefore, this research focuses, in addition to the fear appeal approach, on a different kind of message, namely a humorous one, in order to increase risk awareness. By implementing various levels of efficacy beliefs which are measured on different scales (RBDS and GSE), it is possible to draw inferences about the impact of different types of messages combined with different levels of self-efficacy on one’s likelihood to take risk-mitigating actions in a flood scenario. This study was a 2 (Type of Message: Fear Appeal vs. Humorous Approach) x 2 (Level of Self-Efficacy: high vs. low) between-subject experiment. Since the effects of humour are of exploratory nature but constitute a good alternative to the fear appeal approach, it is expected that participating in the Humorous/high Self-Efficacy condition lead to the greatest intention to prepare for a flood. Results show that neither the Type of Message to create risk awareness nor the Level of Self-Efficacy has an impact on one’s Behavioural Intention. However, when forming new Self-Efficacy conditions, based on one’s score on the RBDS and GSE scale, significant differences were found between the conditions. Interestingly, the RBDS seemed to be more suitable to the Fear Appeal approach, yielding significant differences between the high and low Self-Efficacy condition, while the GSE scale seemed to be more applicable to the Humorous condition where the high levels of Self-Efficacy showed a significantly higher Behavioural Intention compared to the low Self-Efficacy condition.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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