Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
School of Kinesiology and Recreation
Anthony J. Amorose
PURPOSE: Understanding how to best “sell” physical activity (PA) is a critical goal. This study investigated the effects of message framing on motivation to participate in a PA program, and tested whether the effectiveness of messages framed to promote either affective benefits, physical health benefits, or a combination of benefits varied based on one’s current PA status.
METHODS: Adult participants (N=188) from a Midwestern university, who were recruited via email, completed an online survey assessing demographic information and current stage of change. They then viewed one of four randomly assigned promotional flyers for a PA program offered on campus. The flyers mentioned either the: (a) affective benefits of program participation (e.g., improved mood), (b) physical health benefits (e.g., improved fitness), (c) a combination of affective and physical health benefits, or (d) a control message noting some generic aspects of the program (e.g., clean facilities). After viewing the flyer, participants responded to a series of questions about the content of the flyers (manipulation checks) and their perceived behavioral control for participating in the program, followed by their interest in the program, intention to participate, the likelihood of participating, and whether they wanted to sign-up.
RESULTS: A series of 2 (PA status: active, non-active) x 4 (message: affective, physical health, combination, control) ANCOVAs found that, after accounting for perceived control, the effectiveness of the different promotional messages on intention and likelihood of participating varied based on the respondents’ PA status. The major finding was messages promoting affective benefits led to significantly greater intention and likelihood of participation for those who are active. For the non-active participants, however, messages promoting physical health benefits led to significantly greater intention and likelihood of participation compared to other messaging types. No group or message differences were found with regard to interest in the program. Further, a chi-square analysis found no differences in participants’ yes or no response to wanting to schedule a session in the program at that time.
CONCLUSION: Using message framing to sell PA may help increase intention and likelihood to participate. However, the type of message that effectively promotes PA appears to vary depending on the message receiver’s current PA.
Hevel, Derek James, "Testing the Effects of Message Framing on Physical Activity Motivation in Active and Non-active Adults" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 862.