Health message framing: Moderators, mediators, and mysteries

John A. Updegraff, Alexander J. Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Health message framing is an important aspect of health communication. Over the past 20years, researchers have sought to identify the contexts in which gain-framed and loss-framed health messages are most likely to motivate healthy behavior. Two major approaches have emerged: One approach focusing on matching the frame of the message to how people perceive the risks and uncertainties of the advocated health behavior and the other approach focusing on matching the frame of the message to the motivational orientation of the recipient. In this review, we describe these two major approaches to health message framing, identify the most likely psychological mediators that explain why these approaches motivate behavior, suggest a way to integrate these two approaches, and outline several key future directions for both basic and applied research in health message framing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-679
Number of pages12
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


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