Dealing With Anxiety: How Effective Health Messages Undermine Self-Control

Nidhi Agrawal, Northwestern University, USA
Echo Wen Wan, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Health messages that convince consumers of their heightened risk also tend to increase anxiety. The current paper examines the deleterious consequences of such anxiety. We show that processing high versus low health risk messages enhances feelings of anxiety which impair subsequent self-control. Three studies document this effect, examine underlying processes, and identify the condition that overcomes this effect. Anxiety generated from health messages did not undermine subsequent healthful behaviors when the subsequent behaviors were related to the health message domain, because here individuals took a cognitive perspective and engaged in health practice as a way of reducing uncertainty.
[ to cite ]:
Nidhi Agrawal and Echo Wen Wan (2010) ,"Dealing With Anxiety: How Effective Health Messages Undermine Self-Control", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 502-503 .