Previous research has shown that messages aimed at reducing red meat intake often do not have the expected effect. In the present study, we tested whether prefactual (“If… then”) or factual messages focused on health or wellbeing concerns have different persuasive effects depending on the recipient’s level of eating self-efficacy. Young adult participants (N = 247) completed a questionnaire measuring their eating self-efficacy and current red meat consumption. They were then presented with a prefactual or factual version of a message describing the possible negative impact of excessive red meat consumption on either health or wellbeing. After reading the message participants reported their involvement with the message and intention to eat red meat in the future. Results showed that prefactual wellbeing messages and factual health messages trigger participants’ involvement and, in turn, reduce their intention to eat red meat more than the other message combinations. Eating self-efficacy moderates these effects, with factual health messages persuading people with high self-efficacy and prefactual wellbeing messages persuading also receivers with an average level of self-efficacy. Discussion focuses on which message frames can be more effective in promoting a reduction in red meat consumption in a wider population.
- Health (social science)