This research assessed the role of having a coherent explanation of the link between smoking and cervical cancer in motivating women to stop smoking. In the 1st study, women were given a leaflet with either a detailed or a minimal explanation of the link or no leaflet. The leaflets were similarly effective at providing a coherent explanation. In a cross-sectional analysis, having a coherent explanation moderated the relationship between perceived vulnerability and intention: Higher perceived vulnerability to cervical cancer was associated with greater intention to quit smoking only amongst women with a more coherent explanation of the link between smoking and cervical cancer. This finding was replicated in a 2nd study. These results are consistent with H. Leventhal et al.'s (1997) self-regulatory model, which suggests that motivation to change behavior depends not only on perceiving a threat but also on having a coherent model linking the behavior with the threat.
Copyright 2004 American Psychological Association