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Enhancing Smoking Risk Communications: The Influence of Need for Cognition

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Objectives: One way to enhance the impact of smoking health risk messages may be to tailor their content to individual difference factors such as need for cognition (NFC). In this study, we examined how NFC influenced responses to different smoking risk messages. Outcomes included knowledge, risk perceptions, and behavioral expectations related to quitting smoking. Methods: We randomized 402 participants to one of 4 different risk message sets that were manipulated in terms of emotionality and framing in a 2x2 design: (1) factual gain-framed, (2) factual loss-framed, (3) emotional gain-framed, and (4) emotional loss-framed. Results: Statistically significant main effects emerged for NFC and emotionality. For certain risk perceptions, those with lower NFC reported greater perceived risk in response to emotional messages and lower risk in response to factual messages; those with higher NFC showed an opposite pattern. Similarly, those with lower NFC reported greater risk in response to gain-framed messages and lower risk in response to loss-framed messages; the opposite pattern emerged for those lower in NFC. Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of an individual difference variable in influencing the impact of different types of smoking risk messages.
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Keywords: NEED FOR COGNITION; RISK MESSAGES; SMOKING HEALTH

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK; and [email protected], Email: [email protected] 2: Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professor, and Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity (HOPE), University of Utah and the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT 3: Professor and Program Co-leader, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Stephenson Cancer Center and the Director of Intervention Research for the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center 4: Assistant Professor, Department of Health Disparities Research, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston, TX 5: Assistant Professor of Research in Biostatistics, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, College of Public Health, Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 6: Biostatistician, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas, Houston, TX 7: Associate Professor, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas, Houston, TX 8: Professor, Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD 9: Professor, Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 10: Associate Professor and Director of Tobacco Regulatory Science Research, Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center at the Stephenson Cancer Center, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 11: Professor and Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control and Director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, Stephenson Cancer Center, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK

Publication date: September 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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