- People respond differently when asked about their values. They also respond differently
when they learn about how their actions affect their lives and health. Researchers want to
learn more about these differences. This can help them improve public health messages.
- To see how people respond differently to questions about their values and to information
about alcohol and breast cancer.
- Women age 18 and older who drink 7 or more alcoholic drinks per week.
- This study will take place online.
- Participants will be randomly assigned to a group that will complete a certain task.
- Researchers will ask participants to complete 2 small studies:
- Values Study. Some participants may write briefly about a value that is important to
them or to someone they are close to. Some participants will complete a short
questionnaire instead of the writing exercise.
- Alcohol and Breast Cancer Study. Participants will read a health message. This will be
about the link between alcohol use and increased breast cancer risk. Participants will
then answer questions about what they read and their beliefs about alcohol and breast
- Both studies should take about 30 minutes.
Self-affirmation, a process by which individuals reflect on cherished personal values is a
potent means of augmenting the effectiveness of threatening health communications.
Individuals tend to be defensive against information suggesting their behavior puts them at
risk for disease or negative health. Previous evidence suggests that self-affirmation may
reduce defensiveness to threatening health information, increasing openness to the message
and resulting in increased disease risk perceptions, disease-related worry, intentions to
engage in preventive behavior, and actual behavioral change. Understanding the mechanisms
that explain these robust effects would yield evidence important for dissemination, including
ways to refine self-affirmation interventions and make them more potent, which could change
the ways that public health messages are constructed. Thus, we aim to elucidate potential
mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of self-affirmation, including self-activation,
general affirmation, and domain-specific affirmation. In study 1, female human subjects will
be randomly assigned to one of eight affirmation or self-activation conditions. Following the
affirmation or activation task, subjects will read about the documented link between alcohol
and breast cancer. Finally, they will be asked a series of questions about their intentions
to reduce drinking, their perceived risk of breast cancer, and their worry about breast
cancer. Study 2 will replicate study 1, but in a different behavioral domain (fruit and
vegetable consumption) and a different sample (both males and females who do not meet fruit
and vegetable recommendations. Study 3 will extend Studies 1 and 2 by examining whether the
most effective self-affirmations identified in these studies produce short-term increases in
fruit and vegetable consumption. Drawing on previous research, we hypothesize that these
inductions will be effective to the degree that they involve a self-affirmation, but will not
be effective if they involve only other-affirmation or self-activation.
- INCLUSION CRITERIA:
- Women over the age of 18
- Drink seven or more drinks per week (consistent with the alcohol consumption level the
health message links to increased breast cancer risk)
- Women report drinking 7 or more drinks in a sitting regardless of how many times they
drank in the past year
-All men, and women who report a lower threshold of alcohol consumption,