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Health Communication Research Measures

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Edited By Do Kyun Kim and James W. Dearing

This volume presents state-of-the-art reporting on how to measure many of the key variables in health communication. While the focus is on quantitative measures, the editors argue that these measures are centrally important to the study of health communication. The chapters emphasize constructs, scales, and up-to-date reports and evidence about key social science constructs and ways of measuring them, whether your interest is in patient-provider dyadic communication, uncertainty management, self-efficacy, disclosure, social norms, social support, risk perception, health care team performance, message design and effects, health and numerical literacy, communication satisfaction, social influence and persuasion, stigma, health campaigns, reactance, or other topics. Students, researchers, and policymakers will find this book an accessible resource for planning and reviewing research studies and proposals.
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12. Perceived Argument Strength

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← 118 | 119 →



12. Perceived Argument Strength

XIAOQUAN ZHAO,George Mason University& JOSEPH N. CAPPELLA,University of Pennsylvania

Health communication research often involves the use of persuasive messages to increase awareness, enhance knowledge, change attitudes, and modify behavior. A key variable in message construction and evaluation is argument strength. Although many studies have used self-reported measures of argument strength, or broader measures of message effectiveness, rarely are these measures based on careful theoretical explication and rigorous empirical validation (Yzer, LoRusso, & Nagler, 2015). This chapter presents a scale of perceived argument strength that draws on relevant persuasion theories, shows desirable psychometric properties, and promises ease of use and wide applicability across populations and contexts.

The importance of argument strength is most well-known within the theoretical framework of the elaboration likelihood model (ELM, Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). According to ELM, messages featuring strong versus weak arguments will lead to different persuasive outcomes depending on the audience’s motivation and ability to process the message. ELM researchers have traditionally relied on an empirical procedure called “thought listing” to determine argument strength (Cacioppo & Petty, 1981). Typically, potential arguments are presented to a sample of the target audience who then write down their thoughts while reading or hearing those arguments. Arguments that elicit more favorable than unfavorable thoughts are deemed to be relatively strong and those eliciting more unfavorable than favorable thoughts are considered to be relatively weak. ← 119 | 120 →

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