The relative persuasiveness of gain-framed and loss-framed messages for encouraging disease prevention behaviors: a meta-analytic review

J Health Commun. 2007 Oct-Nov;12(7):623-44. doi: 10.1080/10810730701615198.


A meta-analytic review of 93 studies (N = 21,656) finds that in disease prevention messages, gain-framed appeals, which emphasize the advantages of compliance with the communicator's recommendation, are statistically significantly more persuasive than loss-framed appeals, which emphasize the disadvantages of noncompliance. This difference is quite small (corresponding to r = .03), however, and appears attributable to a relatively large (and statistically significant) effect for messages advocating dental hygiene behaviors. Despite very good statistical power, the analysis finds no statistically significant differences in persuasiveness between gain- and loss-framed messages concerning other preventive actions such as safer-sex behaviors, skin cancer prevention behaviors, or diet and nutrition behaviors.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Social Marketing*