The Effects of Gain- versus Loss-Framed Messages Following Health Risk Information on Physical Activity in Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis
Bassett-Gunter, Rebecca L.
Ginis, Kathleen A. Martin
Latimer-Cheung, Amy E.
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Few people with multiple sclerosis engage in physical activity. Messaging interventions may motivate more physical activity among these individuals. The purpose of this online study was to evaluate an intervention presenting participants with multiple sclerosis (N = 237) with risk information (i.e., information demonstrating people with multiple sclerosis are more likely to experience certain health issues) or no risk information followed by gain- or loss-framed physical activity messages. Participants completed questionnaires on Days 1, 6, and 28 and received information material on Days 2–5. The dependent variables were as follows: physical activity intentions and behavior, response and task efficacy, perceived threat (i.e., perception of threat to health issues relevant to people with multiple sclerosis), and avoidance (i.e., avoiding thinking about/doing something about the health issues presented in the messages). Analyses indicated physical activity and response efficacy increased over time. Also, participants receiving risk information had higher levels of physical activity and perceived threat. However, manipulation checks showed no differences between participants regarding perceptions of risk information or gain/loss-framed messages. Despite the lack of impact of the framing intervention, this study suggests that a brief informational intervention can positively influence physical activity and certain correlates of physical activity among people with multiple sclerosis.