Tale of Two Frames
Background. Physical activity has been shown to decrease the risk of a variety of diseases. However, recent studies indicate that only 15% of Canadian adults engage in adequate levels of physical activity. As such, an area of interest for physical activity promotion has been the use of persuasive messages, specifically, the use of framing effects as a method of persuasive communication. This study uses the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to investigate the effects of framed health messages on
... ealth messages on autonomous motivation. Methods. 107 York University undergraduate students (N=107; 51 females, 56 males) ages 18 – 30 were recruited from the school of Kinesiology and Health Sciences. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three message groups: gain-framed, loss-framed and control. They were given and instructed to read the messages. Afterwards, the participants' autonomous motivation levels were measured. Results. 68.2% of the participants were considered physically active. No significant difference in autonomous regulation levels were observed between the three frame groups. However, a significant interaction was shown between participants' gender and frame condition; among the female participants, levels of autonomous regulation were significantly higher in the loss frame group, when compared to the control group. Conclusion. Based on the results of this study, women who were exposed to loss-framed messages tended to demonstrate higher levels of autonomy. Similar framing effects were not evident in males.