The Importance Of Public Health Communication

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Every day people make countless unconscious and conscious decisions that either enhance or undermine their personal health. In general, becoming or staying healthy are the main objectives that drive most of these health related decisions. However, not everyone is as inclined to stick to those healthy behaviors as others are. Nowadays, people feel more personally responsible for their own health, and due to the internet this autonomy has taken a flight (Voerman, Kraemer & Nickel, 2013). Nevertheless, public health communication still plays a prominent role in the prevention of diseases. As one of their tasks, the government is concerned with the improvement of overall health outcomes and is doing so by encouraging both a healthy lifestyle and…show more content…
As a consequence, persuasive health communication does not only focus on promoting healthy, but also discourages unhealthy behaviors. Both objectives can be achieved by framing: a communication strategy used for designing persuasive messages from a particular perspective (Pelletier & Sharp, 2008). A type of framing that has been extensively applied in health communication, is gain- and loss-framing. These gain- and loss-framed messages either underline a potential gain or a potential loss respectively (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). A gain-framed message highlights the benefits of engaging in a behavior (e.g. ‘Exercising regularly can help you lose weight’), whereas a loss-frame reveals the consequences of not engaging a specific behavior (e.g. ‘Not exercising regularly can make you gain weight’) (Gallagher & Updegraff, 2012). By using these frames of opposing valence, the healthy positive as well as the unhealthy negative behaviors can be…show more content…
An obtainment frame focuses on obtaining a desirable outcome (gain) or obtaining an undesirable outcome (loss), whereas an avoidance frame focuses on avoiding a desirable outcome (non-gain) or avoiding an undesirable outcome (non-loss) (Levin, Schneider & Gaeth, 1998; O’Keefe & Jensen, 2007). In line with one’s motivational orientation a person with a higher BAS will be more sensitive to both a gain- and non-gain-frame, whereas a person higher in BIS will be more persuaded by messages in both the loss and non-loss-frame (Higgins, 1997). Thus, creating an opposite effect of personal preference for either a gain- or a loss-frame dependent on the type of frame that is
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