This study investigated the interactive effects of attitudinal ambivalence and health message framing on persuading people to eat less junk food. Within the heuristic-systematic model of information processing, an attitudinal ambivalence (ambivalent or univalent toward eating junk food) by health message framing (advantage- or disadvantage-framed appeals) between-subjects experiment was conducted to explore a cognitive resource-matching effect and the underlying mediation processes. Ambivalent individuals reported a higher level of cognitive elaboration than univalent individuals did. The disadvantage frame engendered more extensive cognitive elaboration than the advantage frame did. Ambivalent individuals were more persuaded by the disadvantage frame and, for them, cognitive elaboration mediated the persuasion process via the systematic route. Univalent individuals were equally persuaded by the advantage frame and the disadvantage frame and, for them, neither the perceived frame valence nor cognitive elaboration mediated persuasion. Discussion of the null results among the univalent group leads to a response-reinforcement explanation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)