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Imagining and explaining hypothetical scenarios: mediational effects on the subjective likelihood of health-related outcomes

Sparks, P., Harris, P.R. and Raats, M. (2003) Imagining and explaining hypothetical scenarios: mediational effects on the subjective likelihood of health-related outcomes. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33 (4). pp. 869-887. ISSN 0021-9029

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Abstract

Imagining and explaining hypothetical events have been shown to increase the subjective likelihood of those events occurring. At the same time, it has been suggested that reducing unrealistic optimism about health risks (i.e., increasing the subjective likelihood of negative health outcomes) might motivate health-protective behavior. In exploring the implications of these issues for health-promotion goals, 2 experiments (Ns = 334 and 328) involving postal questionnaires are reported in which attempts are made through the use of imagine-and-explain scenarios to manipulate the subjective likelihood of a negative outcome (heart disease) and of a positive outcome (reducing fat consumption). The greater success of the manipulation of dietary change expectations than of heart disease expectations suggests the potential benefits of focusing directly on planning goal strategies in relation to health beneficial behaviors.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: SELF; RISK; PROBABILITY; PERCEPTIONS; IMAGINATION; OPTIMISM; BEHAVIOR; REASONS; EVENTS
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Anthea Tucker
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2009 13:54
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2009 13:59
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2003.tb01929...
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2003.tb01929.x
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9865

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