Exploring the Effects of Instructional Message Strategies on Risk Perceptions and Behavioral Intentions : The Case of a Substandard Vaccine Incident

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Journal / PublicationSAGE Open
Issue number4
Online published29 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021



Extending the recent theorizing of the message-centric approach to instructional risk and crisis communication, this study identifies two distinct instructional strategies used by regulatory authorities and adopts a goal-attainment approach to measuring the effectiveness of both strategies in instructing nonscientific publics about impending risks. Specifically, we conducted a quasi-experiment immediately after a substandard vaccine incident in China to examine the differential effects of regulators’ instructional press releases on stakeholders’ risk perceptions and behavioral intentions. We found that the explanation-focused buffering strategy is significantly more effective in both heightening individuals’ cognitive risk perception and reducing their affective risk perception, while the personalization-focused bridging strategy shows more effectiveness in sustaining individuals’ intention to consume and positively evaluate domestic vaccines. Additionally, the findings highlight the need to tailor instructional message strategies to regulatory organizations’ ultimate goals of communication activities. Practical implications for government regulators and risk communicators are also discussed.

Research Area(s)

  • behavioral intention, instructional communication, regulatory authorities, risk communication, risk perception

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