A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Guilt on Health-Related Attitudes and Intentions

Zhan Xu, Hao Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Guilt appeals are successful in encouraging healthy behaviors as proved by many studies. However, there has been no previous systematic review of guilt research in health domain. Thus, a meta-analysis of eight studies (2,061 subjects) was conducted to examine the effectiveness of guilt on health-related attitudes and intentions. The result revealed a strong positive overall effect of guilt (r =.49, 95% CI 0.31–0.64) despite the heterogeneity. Guilt had a stronger power in changing attitudes/intentions when paired with text-only messages than text-picture mixed messages. For studies using a college sample, the percentage of females marginally moderated the effect of guilt. Whether a message was self focused or other focused did not significantly moderate the effect of guilt. Future directions and practical implications are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-525
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Communication
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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