Health Commun 2006 ;20(1):57-67
Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.
This study tests the utility of the functional theory of attitudes and arousal of fear in motivating college students to get tested for HIV. It is argued from the perspective of functional theory that value-expressive appeals to get tested for the purpose of taking care of one's own health could be effective if that goal is desired by message targets who are sexually active and unaware of their sexually transmitted disease status. As part of the process, the effectiveness of these appeals is increased by the arousal of uncertainty and fear. A model detailing the mediating processes is proposed and found to be consistent with the data. Overall, messages advocating testing for the self-interested reason of one's own health were more effective than messages advocating testing for the goal of protecting one's partners.