The relative persuasiveness of gain- and loss-framed messages for promoting vaccination: a meta-analytic review

Health Commun. 2012;27(8):776-83. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2011.640974. Epub 2012 Jan 31.


Vaccination against disease is a powerful public health tool, and persuading people to be vaccinated is a correspondingly important challenge. A number of studies have compared the effectiveness of gain-framed and loss-framed appeals in this domain, often expecting gain-framed appeals to be more persuasive. A meta-analytic review (k = 32, N = 11,814), however, finds no significant difference in the persuasiveness of gain- and loss-framed appeals for encouraging vaccination. This conclusion is unaffected by differences in the phrasing of the outcomes invoked or by differences in the specific vaccination advocated. But the results contain a hint that parents might be more persuaded to vaccinate their children by loss-framed than by gain-framed appeals. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Vaccination / psychology*