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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)