Summary: The Extended Parallel Process Model

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The extended parallel process model (EPPM) explains how individuals react to messages that invoke fear. Witte (1992) characterizes fear as “a negatively-valanced emotion accompanied by a high level of arousal which is elicited by a threat that is perceived to be significant and personally relevant” (p. 331). There is a distinct link between fear and threat, though in most scholarship the words are used as if they are interchangeable. The difference between the two terms relies on origin of the variable. Fear is an internal characteristic that is experienced through negative emotion, while threat is an environmental characteristic that represents something that indicates negative consequences (Mongeau, 2013). Fear and threat intersect in…show more content…
When evaluating threat, scientists often evaluate the messages based on their level of susceptibility and the level of severity, but very rarely simultaneously evaluate the two concepts as separate measures. A few studies have begun to parse out the difference between severity and susceptibility, focusing on how each contributes to evaluating threat. While studying the third-person effect, Shah, Farber, and Youn (1999) highlight the importance of viewing severity and susceptibility as two separate evaluative concepts within EPPM. They posit that judgements of susceptibility and severity are two separate components of threat that require separate appraisal processes that are combined to shape an individual’s danger control behaviors. Furthermore, according to Sutton (1987), attitude theories and utility models of decision making are based on expectancies and values, which reflect ‘‘the individual’s expectancies or subjective probabilities concerning the outcomes of a given action and the perceived values or utilities attached to those outcomes’’ (p. 355). Thus, the possibility of risk occurrence (susceptibility) and its consequence value (severity) are distinct (El-Toukhy, 2015; Ronnis,…show more content…
Additionally, this research seeks to discover if high levels of self-enhancement change the way persuasive threat messages are processed, thus changing and individual’s response to the message. Though the EPPM has been an accurate predictor for some responses to threat messages, it cannot yet predict all outcomes. By breaking down threat and efficacy into more precise variables, this study will help fill in the existing gaps in EPPM and shed light on how self-enhancement influences the perceptions of threat messages. It is predicted that those with high levels of self-enhancement will not be swayed by highly threatening messages – messages with high susceptibility and high severity – because of their focus on positive information due to the self-enhancement. Thus, the following hypotheses were advanced for the current

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