In COVID-19 Health Messaging, Loss Framing Increases Anxiety with Little-to-No Concomitant Benefits: Experimental Evidence from 84 Countries

Charles A Dorison, Jennifer S Lerner, Blake H Heller, Alexander J Rothman, Ichiro I Kawachi, Ke Wang, Vaughan W Rees, Brian P Gill, Nancy Gibbs, Charles R Ebersole, Zahir Vally, Zuzanna Tajchman, Andras N Zsido, Mija Zrimsek, Zhang Chen, Ignazio Ziano, Zoi Gialitaki, Chris D Ceary, Yijun Lin, Yoshihiko KunisatoYuki Yamada, Qinyu Xiao, Xiaoming Jiang, Xinkai Du, Elvin Yao, John Paul Wilson, Wilson Cyrus-Lai, William Jimenez-Leal, Wilbert Law, W Matthew Collins, Karley L Richard, Marek Vranka, Vladislav Ankushev, Vidar Schei, Valerija Križanić, Veselina Hristova Kadreva, Vera Cubela Adoric, Ulrich S Tran, Siu Kit Yeung, Widad Hassan, Ralph Houston, Tiago J S Lima, Thomas Ostermann, Thomas Frizzo, Therese E Sverdrup, Thea House, Tripat Gill, Maksim Fedotov, Tamar Paltrow, Teodor Jernsäther, Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Thomas J Hostler, Tatsunori Ishii, Barnabas Szaszi, Sylwia Adamus, Lilian Suter, Sumaiya Habib, Anna Studzinska, Dragana Stojanovska, Steve M J Janssen, Stefan Stieger, Stefan E Schulenberg, Srinivasan Tatachari, Soufian Azouaghe, Piotr Sorokowski, Agnieszka Sorokowska, Xin Song, Savannah C Lewis, Sladjana Sinkolova, Dmitry Grigoryev, Shira Meir Drexler, Shimrit Daches, Shawn N Geniole, Selena Vračar, Sébastien Massoni, Saša Zorjan, Eylül Sarıoğuz, Sara Morales Izquierdo, Sara G Alves, Sara Pöntinen, Sara Álvarez Solas, Santiago Ordoñez-Riaño, Sanja Batić Očovaj, Sandersan Onie, Samuel Lins, Sami Çoksan, Asli Sacakli, Susana Ruiz-Fernández, Sandra J Geiger, Saeideh FatahModares, Radoslaw B Walczak, Ruben Betlehem, Roosevelt Vilar, Rodrigo Cárcamo, Robert M Ross, Randy McCarthy, Tonia Ballantyne, Erin C Westgate, Reza Afhami, Dongning Ren, Renan P Monteiro, Ulf-Dietrich Reips, Niv Reggev, Robert J Calin-Jageman, Razieh Pourafshari, Raquel Oliveira, Mina Nedelcheva-Datsova, Rima-Maria Rahal, Rafael R Ribeiro, Theda Radtke, Rachel Searston, Redeate Habte, Przemysław Zdybek, Sau-Chin Chen, Princess Lovella G Maturan, Jennifer T Perillo, Peder Mortvedt Isager, Pavol Kačmár, Paulo Manuel Macapagal, Paulina Szwed, Paul H P Hanel, Paul A G Forbes, Patrícia Arriaga, Bastien Paris, Konstantinos Papachristopoulos, Pablo Sebastián Correa, Ondřej Kácha, Márcia Bernardo, Olatz Campos, Olalla Niño Bravo, Oscar J Galindo-Caballero, Chisom Esther Ogbonnaya, Olga Bialobrzeska, Natalia Kiselnikova, Nicolle Simonovic, Noga Cohen, Nora L Nock, Niklas Johannes, Nihan Albayrak-Aydemir, Nicolas Say, Nathan Torunsky, Natalia Van Doren, Naoyuki Sunami, Nikolay R Rachev, Nadyanna M Majeed, Nadya-Daniela Schmidt, Khaoula Nadif, Nadia S Corral-Frías, Nihal Ouherrou, Myrto Pantazi, Marc Y Lucas, Martin R Vasilev, María Victoria Ortiz, Muhammad Mussaffa Butt, Muhib Kabir, Rafał Muda, Maria Del Carmen Mc Tejada Rivera, Miroslav Sirota, Martin Seehuus, Michal Parzuchowski, Mónica Toro, Monika Hricova, Mónica Alarcón Maldonado, Magdalena Marszalek, Maria Karekla, Giovanna Mioni, Minke Jasmijn Bosma, Minja Westerlund, Milica Vdovic, Michal Bialek, Miguel A Silan, Michele Anne, Michal Misiak, Maurice Grinberg, Mariagrazia Capizzi, Mauricio F Espinoza Barría, Merve A Kurfali, Michael C Mensink, Mikayel Harutyunyan, Meetu Khosla, Max Korbmacher, Matúš Adamkovič, Matheus Fernando Felix Ribeiro, Maria Terskova, Matej Hruška, Marcel Martončik, Martin Voracek, Martin Čadek, Martha Frías-Armenta, Marta Kowal, Marta Topor, Marta Roczniewska, Marlies Oosterlinck, Markéta Braun Kohlová, Mariola Paruzel-Czachura, Marina Romanova, Marietta Papadatou-Pastou, Maria Louise Lund, Maria Antoniadi, Marc V Jones, Manuel S Ortiz, Mathi Manavalan, Abdumalik Muminov, Małgorzata Kossowska, Maja Friedemann, Magdalena Wielgus, Marco A C Varella, Melissa F Colloff, Maria Bradford, Leigh Ann Vaughn, Luis Eudave, Luc Vieira, Lina Maria Sanabria Pineda, Laura Calderón Pérez, Ljiljana B Lazarevic, Lisa M Jaremka, Elizaveta Kushnir, Lisa Anton-Boicuk, Gabriel Lins de Holanda Coelho, Lina Ahlgren, Carmel A Levitan, Leticia Micheli, Leonhard Volz, Marija Stojanovska, Leanne Boucher, Lara Samojlenko, Lady Grey Javela Delgado, Lada Kaliska, Lara Warmelink, Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia, Karen Yu, Jakub Wachowicz, Kermeka Desai, Krystian Barzykowski, Luca Kozma, Kortnee Evans, Komila Kirgizova, Bamikole Emmanuel Agesin, Monica A Koehn, Kelly Wolfe, Tatiana Korobova, Kristoffer Klevjer, Kevin van Schie, Kevin Vezirian, Kaja Damnjanović, Katrine Krabbe Thommesen, Kathleen Schmidt, Katarzyna Filip, Karolina Grzech, Karlijn Hoyer, Karis Moon, Kafeel Rana, Kristina Janjić, Jordan W Suchow, Julita Kielińska, Julio E Cruz Vásquez, Julia Beitner, Juan Camilo Vargas-Nieto, Jose Carlos T Roxas, Jennifer Taber, Joan Urriago-Rayo, Jeffrey M Pavlacic, Jozef Bavolar, José A Soto, Jonas K Olofsson, Johannes K Vilsmeier, Johanna Messerschmidt, Johanna Czamanski-Cohen, Jordane Boudesseul, Jeong Min Lee, Julia Kamburidis, Janis Zickfeld, Jacob F Miranda, Jeroen P H Verharen, Evgeniya Hristova, Julie E Beshears, Jasna Milošević Đorđević, Jasmijn Bosch, Jaroslava Varella Valentova, Jan Antfolk, Jana B Berkessel, Jana Schrötter, Jan Urban, Jan Philipp Röer, James O Norton, Jaime R Silva, Jade S Pickering, Jáchym Vintr, Jim Uttley, Jonas R Kunst, Izuchukwu L G Ndukaihe, Aishwarya Iyer, Iris Vilares, Aleksandr Ivanov, Ivan Ropovik, Isabela Sula, Irena Sarieva, Irem Metin-Orta, Irina Prusova, Isabel Pinto, Andreea Ioana Bozdoc, Inês A T Almeida, Ilse L Pit, Ilker Dalgar, Ilya Zakharov, Azuka Ikechukwu Arinze, Keiko Ihaya, Ian D Stephen, Biljana Gjoneska, Hilmar Brohmer, Heather Flowe, Hendrik Godbersen, Halil Emre Kocalar, Mattie V Hedgebeth, Hu Chuan-Peng, MohammadHasan Sharifian, Harry Manley, Handan Akkas, Nandor Hajdu, Habiba Azab, Gwenael Kaminski, Gustav Nilsonne, Gulnaz Anjum, Giovanni A Travaglino, Gilad Feldman, Gerit Pfuhl, Gabriela Czarnek, Gabriela Mariana Marcu, Gabriela Hofer, Gabriel Banik, Gabriel Agboola Adetula, Gijsbert Bijlstra, Frederick Verbruggen, Franki Y H Kung, Francesco Foroni, Gage Singer, Fany Muchembled, Flavio Azevedo, Farnaz Mosannenzadeh, Evelina Marinov, Eva Štrukelj, Zahra Etebari, Ernest Baskin, Elkin Oswaldo Luis Garcia, Erica Musser, I M M van Steenkiste, El Rim Ahn, Ekaterina Pronizius, Emily A Jackson, Efisio Manunta, Elena Agadullina, Dušana Šakan, Pinar Dursun, Olivier Dujols, Dmitrii Dubrov, Megan Willis, Murat Tümer, Jennifer L Beaudry, Dora Popović, Daniel Dunleavy, Ikhlas Djamai, Dino Krupić, Diego Vega, Hongfei Du, Débora Mola, William E Davis, Dawn Liu Holford, David M G Lewis, David C Vaidis, Daphna Hausman Ozery, Danilo Zambrano Ricaurte, Daniel Storage, Daniela Sousa, Daniela Serrato Alvarez, Anna Dalla Rosa, Dajana Krupić, Dafne Marko, David Moreau, Crystal Reeck, Rita C Correia, Cassie M Whitt, Claus Lamm, Claudio Singh Solorzano, Claudia C von Bastian, Clare Am Sutherland, Clara Overkott, Christopher L Aberson, Chunhui Wang, Christiana Karashiali, Chris Noone, Faith Chiu, Chiara Picciocchi, Cemre Karaarslan, Nicola Cellini, Celia Esteban-Serna, Cecilia Reyna, Carlota Batres, Ranran Li, Caterina Grano, Joelle Carpentier, Christian K Tamnes, Cynthia H Y Fu, Byurakn Ishkhanyan, Lisa Bylinina, Bastian Jaeger, Carsten Bundt, Tara Bulut Allred, Ahmed Bokkour, Natalia Bogatyreva, William J Chopik, Benedict Antazo, Behzad Behzadnia, Maja Becker, Beatrice Cocco, Wei-Lun Chou, Barbora Hubena, Barbara Žuro, Balazs Aczel, Ekaterina Baklanova, Hui Bai, Busra Bahar Balci, Peter Babinčák, Barnaby James Wyld Dixson, Aviv Mokady, Heather Barry Kappes, Mohammad Atari, Anna Szala, Anna Szabelska, John Jamir Benzon Aruta, Artur Domurat, Nwadiogo Chisom Arinze, Arianna Modena, Arca Adiguzel, Arash Monajem, Kanza Ait El Arabi, Asil Ali Özdoğru, Adriana Julieth Olaya Torres, Andriana Theodoropoulou, Anita Penić Jurković, Angelos P Kassianos, Andrej Findor, Andree Hartanto, Anais Thibault Landry, Ana Ferreira, Anabela Caetano Santos, Anabel De la Rosa-Gomez, Amélie Gourdon-Kanhukamwe, Anna Louise Todsen, Alper Karababa, Allison Janak, Alexandre Bran, Alexa M Tullett, Anna O Kuzminska, Anthony J Krafnick, Anum Urooj, Ahmed Khaoudi, Afroja Ahmed, Agata Groyecka-Bernard, Adrian Dahl Askelund, Adeyemi Adetula, Anabel Belaus, Abdelilah Ca Charyate, Aaron L Wichman, Alina Stoyanova, Anna Greenburgh, Andrew G Thomas, Alexios Arvanitis, Patrick S Forscher, Peter R Mallik, Maximilian A Primbs, Jeremy K Miller, Hannah Moshontz, Heather L Urry, Hans IJzerman, Dana M Basnight-Brown, Christopher R Chartier, Erin M Buchanan, Nicholas A Coles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic (and its aftermath) highlights a critical need to communicate health information effectively to the global public. Given that subtle differences in information framing can have meaningful effects on behavior, behavioral science research highlights a pressing question: Is it more effective to frame COVID-19 health messages in terms of potential losses (e.g., "If you do not practice these steps, you can endanger yourself and others") or potential gains (e.g., "If you practice these steps, you can protect yourself and others")? Collecting data in 48 languages from 15,929 participants in 84 countries, we experimentally tested the effects of message framing on COVID-19-related judgments, intentions, and feelings. Loss- (vs. gain-) framed messages increased self-reported anxiety among participants cross-nationally with little-to-no impact on policy attitudes, behavioral intentions, or information seeking relevant to pandemic risks. These results were consistent across 84 countries, three variations of the message framing wording, and 560 data processing and analytic choices. Thus, results provide an empirical answer to a global communication question and highlight the emotional toll of loss-framed messages. Critically, this work demonstrates the importance of considering unintended affective consequences when evaluating nudge-style interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-602
Number of pages26
JournalAffective Science
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

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