A Meta-Analytic Review of Fear Appeals: a Terror Management Perspective

David M. Hunt, University of Wyoming, USA
Stephanie Geiger-Oneto, University of Wyoming, USA
Omar Shehryar, Montana State University, USA
The dominant paradigm guiding fear appeal research asserts that differences in level of fear lead to differences in the persuasiveness of a message. However, Terror Management Theory (TMT) suggests that fear appeals that make mortality salient may result in rejection of messages inconsistent with recipients’ cultural worldviews. As such, approaches grounded in the level-of-fear paradigm may under-predict the conditions under which fear appeals will be rejected. Drawing on TMT, this meta-analysis tests the hypothesis that when messages conflict with cultural worldviews, fear appeals that threaten death will be negatively related to message acceptance and positively related to message rejection.
[ to cite ]:
David M. Hunt, Stephanie Geiger-Oneto, and Omar Shehryar (2009) ,"A Meta-Analytic Review of Fear Appeals: a Terror Management Perspective", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 1002-1002.