The Influence of Statistical Versus Exemplar Appeals on Indian Adults’ Health Intentions: An Investigation of Direct Effects and Intervening Persuasion Processes

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In two separate investigations, we examined the persuasive effectiveness of statistical versus exemplar appeals on Indian adults’ smoking cessation and mammography screening intentions. To more comprehensively address persuasion processes, we explored whether message response and perceived message effectiveness functioned as antecedents to persuasive effects. Results showed that statistical appeals led to higher levels of health intentions than exemplar appeals. In addition, findings from both studies indicated that statistical appeals stimulated more attention and were perceived as more effective than anecdotal accounts. Among male smokers, statistical appeals also generated greater cognitive processing than exemplar appeals. Subsequent mediation analyses revealed that message response and perceived message effectiveness fully carried the influence of appeal format on health intentions. Given these findings, future public health initiatives conducted among similar populations should design messages that include substantive factual information while ensuring that this content is perceived as credible and valuable.



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