Using Mindsets to Boost Health: How Construal Level and Goal Pursuit Shape Health Message Effectiveness on Cessation Behaviors

Márcia Maurer Herter, Adilson Borges, Diego Costa Pinto, Mário Boto Ferreira, Anna S. Mattila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The current research examines how construal level shapes the effectiveness of rational (vs. emotional) messages for inducing cessation behaviors. Concrete mindsets foster self-improvement goals, while abstract mindsets boost self-relevance goals.
Design/methodology/approach: In four studies, this research examines the moderating role of construal level on health messages and the underlying mechanism of goal pursuit.
Findings: Results demonstrate that concrete (vs. abstract) mindsets increase consumers’ intent to engage in cessation behaviors when exposed to rational (vs. emotional) messages. Consistent with our theorizing, we found that self-improvement goals underlie the effects for concrete mindsets, while self-relevance goals mediate the effects for abstract mindsets.
Research limitations/implications: The reported effects are limited to health messages focusing on cessation behaviors.
Practical implications: This research can help public policymakers to design more
effective health messages to foster specific cessation behaviors – quitting smoking and reducing drinking – focusing on concrete (vs. abstract) mindsets and rational (vs. emotional) messages.
Originality/value: Our investigation highlights construal level as an important moderator for message appeals (rational vs. emotional) on cessation behaviors, along with the underlying mechanism of goal pursuit, thus contributing to health marketing literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3197-3226
Number of pages30
JournalEuropean Journal Of Marketing
Issue number12
Early online date5 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022


  • cessation behaviors
  • construal level
  • emotional and rational messages
  • Goal pursuit
  • health messages


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