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J Health Commun. 2006 Apr-May;11(3):245-59.

Can fear arousal in public health campaigns contribute to the decline of HIV prevalence?

Author information

1
Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Population and Development Studies, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA. egreendc@aol.com

Abstract

Most American health professionals who work in HIV/AIDS do not support the use of fear arousal in AIDS preventive education, believing it to be counterproductive. Meanwhile, many Africans, whether laypersons, health professionals, or politicians, seem to believe there is a legitimate role for fear arousal in changing sexual behavior. This African view is the one more supported by the empirical evidence, which suggests that the use of fear arousal in public health campaigns often works in promoting behavior change, when combined with self-efficacy. The authors provide overviews of the prevailing American expert view, African national views, and the most recent findings on the use of fear arousal in behavior change campaigns. Their analysis suggests that American, post-sexual-revolution values and beliefs may underlie rejection of fear arousal strategies, whereas a pragmatic realism based on personal experience underlies Africans' acceptance of and use of the same strategies in AIDS prevention campaigns.

PMID:
16624790
DOI:
10.1080/10810730600613807
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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