Death anxiety and threat appeals: Towards a practical application in the context of health promotion
Baywood Publishing Co.
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Health promoters frequently use death threat appeals (e.g., “Quit smoking or you'll die”) to persuade people to adopt healthy behaviors. The practical application of this study was to determine whether any interaction exists between levels of death anxiety and the relative persuasiveness of death vs. non-death threat appeals. The possibility that people with high death anxiety would respond more to death threat appeals than to non-death threat appeals was not supported. People with high death anxiety responded similarly to both death and non-death threats. However, people with high death anxiety responded more than people with low death anxiety to both death and non-death threats, suggesting that death anxiety has a similar function to trait anxiety. The level of fear aroused by the appeals was also measured. Greater death anxiety was found to correlate with greater fear arousal and greater response. The strongest correlation was between fear arousal and response.