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Incentive Appeals

  • By: Lindsay Neuberger
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Health communicators develop messages that motivate target populations to adhere to recommendations; incentive appeals help encourage these actions. Incentive appeals provide some incitement or stimulus to motivate individuals to engage in behaviors advocated in health messages. It is essential that developers of these messages consider how incentive appeals can be most effective. This entry provides an overview of different types of incentive appeals, delineates conditions under which traditional incentive appeals are less effective, and outlines strategies to increase likelihood of incentive appeal success.

Types of Incentive Appeals

Incentive appeals can have both positive and negative valence; some health communication messages highlight gains the audience can expect to receive from following message recommendations (i.e., positive incentive appeals), while others rely on messages threatening the target population with unpleasant ...

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