Fear appeals
Research into the effectiveness of threatening communication

This website collects a number of recent studies about the effectiveness of threatening communication. If you know of more articles on this topic, please contact me so I can add them. I'll add all articles that are Open Access (either through the Gold Road or the Green Road) and have adequate methodology given their research questions and conclusions. The statements below are each supported by one or more scientific articles - all articles are open access. You can click their titles, below each statement, to view the articles.

The videocast accompanying the special issue on fear appeals from the International Journal of Psychology is here.

Threatening communications (e.g. scary pictures) are usually ineffective and may even backfire.
In fact, smokers pay more attention to coping information than to threatening information.
However, people like fear appeals because of their intuitive appeal. Also, alternative methods for behavior change are not well known.
This belief in fear appeal effectiveness is so strong that simply explaining why fear appeals are a bad idea may not work.
Even professionals don't always adjust their convictions when explained why fear appeals are a bad idea.
However, alternatives are readily available, and it is important to spread this knowledge.