Reducing the effect of framed messages about health

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013. Patients must be informed about risks before any treatment can be implemented. Yet serious problems in communicating these risks occur because of framing effects. In this chapter, we describe two studies conducted in the USA, Germany, and Spain, investigating the effects of different information frames when communicating health risks. Study 1 focused on people with low and high numeracy and investigated framing effects in perceptions of medical risks expressed in positive (i.e., chances of surviving after surgery) and negative (i.e., chances of dying after surgery) terms. Study 2 focused on a large sample of sexually active young adults and investigated framing effects in affective reactions, risk perceptions, attitudes, behavioral intentions, and reported behaviorsrelating to the prevention and detection of sexually transmitted diseases. Results in both studies showed that people are susceptible to framing effects and illustrate that these effects can be countered or eliminated by using different types of visual displays.

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Transparent Communication of Health Risks: Overcoming Cultural Differences