Prior research provides inconsistent results for the effectiveness of emotions to foster healthful behaviors. Seeking to add clarity to the findings in this area, the current research examines the effects of specific emotions (sadness vs. embarrassment) on healthy behavioral intentions and the moderating role of construal level. Across four experimental studies, this research shows that specific emotions (sadness vs. embarrassment) differ on agency appraisals (Pilot Study) and affect consumers’ intentions regarding dieting (Study 1), effort(s) to quit smoking (Study 2), and physical activity (Study 3). Consistent with our theorizing, findings reveal that sadness (vs. embarrassment) increases consumers’ healthy behavioral intentions, driven by agency appraisals. Furthermore, construal level moderates the effects since abstract (vs. concrete) construal fosters more healthful behaviors when consumers feel embarrassed (vs. sad). Finally, this research makes important theoretical and practical contributions to the research on emotions, construal level, and health communication.
- Construal level
- Healthy behaviors