The authors examined the congruency hypothesis that health messages framed to be concordant with dispositional motivations will be most effective in promoting health behaviors. Undergraduate students (N = 63) completed a measure of approach/avoidance orientation (behavioral activation/inhibition system) and read a gain- or loss-framed message promoting flossing. Results support the congruency hypothesis: When given a loss-framed message, avoidance-oriented people reported flossing more than approach-oriented people, and when given a gain-framed message, approach-oriented people reported flossing more than avoidance-oriented people. Discussion centers on implications for health interventions and the route by which dispositional motivations affect health behaviors through message framing.
- Approach and avoidance motivation
- Behavior change
- Message framing