Physical Activity Promotion: Precise Matching of Message Frames and Affect Types


Student thesis: Master's Thesis

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  • Candy Hong Yan LEE


Awarding Institution
Award date22 Dec 2016


Objectives: The current study aimed to examine the effects of matching physical activity (PA) message frames with affect orientations on the intentions, attitude and behaviour of participating in PA.

Method: Hong Kong university students (N = 150) were randomly assigned to receive one of four sets of PA messages (2 frame types x 2 end-state structures) and completed a multi-section questionnaire consisting of self-report scales measuring baseline PA levels, affect orientations and questions on demographic and health-related factors. Participants were invited back two weeks later to complete a follow-up recording their intentions, attitudes and PA participation levels for the last seven days. Four affect types: 1. approach-positive, 2. approach-negative, 3. avoidance-positive, and 4. avoidance-negative were matched with message frames: 1. gain-positive, 2. gain-negative, 3. loss-positive and 4. loss-negative respectively based on the theory of regulatory fit and the matching of end-state valences with general valences of affect. A principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted to identify the underlying components of the 12-item affect scale adapted to a Hong Kong Chinese population. Participants were grouped into full matched, half matched or unmatched conditions based on their affect type for regression analyses.

Results: The PCA showed four underlying factors in the affect scale in which all items had primary loadings over .60. PA intentions at the follow-up were greater in the full matched condition as compared with the unmatched condition (β = .18, p = .04). No significant effects were found for any matching conditions on attitude and PA behavior.

Conclusion: The four affect types indicate a motivational basis to defining affect and characterize an individual’s sensitivity towards corresponding health information. Health message framing effects can be influenced by the affective system. Tailoring message-frame with individual differences can maximize overall effectiveness and enhance future interventions in promoting PA.