Emotional Appeals in Public Health

Discussion
Apr 8, 2016
by: tsaeteurn

When talking about emotional appeals I certainly did not know what it was or what it referred to. So I went and search the term. Emotional appeal is a technique of persuasion designed to create an emotional response. Using this method is also known as pathos or suffering in Greek which is one of the three modes of persuasion identified by Aristotle. In public health or health in general they use emotional appeals in their campaigns to make people agree with them for example the tobacco-free campaign commercials.
The first thing that popped up when searching emotional appeals in public health was a response to “Should we move beyond fear-evoking appeals in road safety”(Lewis IM). They are saying that road traffic injury has become a global issue in recent years. So they want is to implement more than just fear. They tried a different approach by using humor into their messages. So far they need more support.
The next result was about meta-analysis on fear appeals. Meta-analysis is the combining of findings in independent studies to see the clinical effectiveness of healthcare interventions. In the article the author Kim Witte, writes “...strong fear appeals produce high levels of perceived severity and susceptibility”(Witte). This shows that the most response you will get is from using strong fear appeal messages rather than low or weak fear appeals.
I also found Youth Voices articles who have been posted by students like me. It was nice to see another student's work and their perspectives in this topic. They talked about their personal experiences with emotional appeals. I even commented on one them.
To me, I do agree with using emotional appeals more specifically fear based messages in health because it makes me more aware of the dangers. But I also wouldn’t mind these campaigns approach us with other emotions than just fear. I mean there are commercials that shows us happiness but most of the emotional appeals are dominated with fear.

Cited Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17170244
http://heb.sagepub.com/content/27/5/591.short?rss=1&ssource=mfc
http://youthvoices.net/discussion/public-health-emotional-appeal-0