- Researchers want to learn about people s beliefs and values. They also want to learn about
how people respond to information about cancer risk. They have created two short studies.
They have combined these studies for convenience.
- To learn about people s beliefs and values, and about how people respond to information
about cancer risk.
- Adults age 40-70 who are overweight, have never had cancer, and have an opposite-sex close
relationship with someone in that age group who is also overweight.
- This study will take place online or in a laboratory.
- Participants will take part in two studies. One is Values Study. The other is Cancer
- In Values Study, some participants will choose the most important value from a list.
They will write about why that value is important to them. Others will choose the least
important value from a list. They will write about why that value may be important to
- In Cancer Risk Information, participants will read a health message about a cancer risk
relevant to themselves or to a close other. Some will wear special glasses that track
their eye movements as they read.
- Participants will then answer questions about their beliefs about cancer risk and their
intentions to lose weight.
- Both studies will take 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. One mechanism by which
self-affirmation may be effective is by reducing self-focus and expanding self-concept. If
this is the case, self-affirmation may not be effective in reducing defensiveness against
information that is threatening to one s close other. We are proposing two studies to examine
whether self-affirmation is equally effective at reducing defensiveness against threatening
information for the self and for a close other. These studies will not only highlight
conditions under which self-affirmation is effective, but also shed light on mechanisms
underlying the effect.
- INCLUSION CRITERIA
For Study 1
-Knowledge Networks panel members will be eligible if they are aged 40-70, overweight, and
have never been diagnosed with cancer (to ensure relevance to breast and prostate cancer
risk, the topic of
the health message). Individuals will also be screened for inclusion based on whether they
an opposite-sex close relationship with another adult age 40-70 who is also overweight
spouse, close friend, or family member).
For Study 2
-Community individuals will be subject to the same inclusion criteria.