Persuasive Communication Strategies in Breast Self-Awareness Messages: An International Perspective

Christine Skubisz


Persuasion theories specify variables that influence attitudes and behaviors. Nevertheless, specifying causal paths and crafting theory-based messages are separate endeavors. There are too few exemplars of theory-based messages for research and practice. This study reviewed the use of theory in Breast Self-Awareness (BSA) messages from 31 nations. BSA enables early detection of breast cancer, a global health concern, with 2 million new cases annually. Results show that hope and fear emotional appeals were common. Severity was communicated in nearly all fear appeal messages and susceptibility in 50%. Across countries, most messages featured a White woman. Self-efficacy was more prevalent than response efficacy. Gain-framed appeals were dominant, and half of the messages included an explicit cue to action. Messages focused on individualism, with collectivism notably absent. Overall, messages did not provide arguments against BSA. Nevertheless, no messages communicated BSA as typical behavior. Recommendations for message design and health promotion are provided.


persuasion, content analysis, breast cancer, communication theory, global health

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