The impact of age on goal-framing for health messages: The mediating effect of interest in health and emotion regulation


Messages to promote health behavior are essential when considering health promotion, disease prevention, and healthy life expectancy. The present study aimed to examine whether (1) positive and negative goal-framing messages affect message memory and behavioral intention differently in younger, middle-aged, and older adults, (2) framing effects are mediated by interest in health (health promotion and disease prevention) and emotion regulation (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression), and (3) mediation effects differ between positive and negative frames. Participants (N= 1248) aged 20 to 70 years were divided into positive and negative frame conditions. Framing demonstrated interactive effects on message memory; all age groups showed higher recognition accuracy in the positive than the negative frame. The accuracy of younger adults was higher than that of older adults in the negative frame, while older adults showed higher accuracy than younger adults in the positive frame. Additionally, recognition accuracy was higher in the positive frame, as participants had higher interest in health promotion and used cognitive reappraisal more frequently. Contrariwise, emotion regulation and interest in health promotion did not have significant effects on memory in negative frames. Moreover, regardless of the message valence, age did not influence behavioral intention directly but was mediated by interest in health and emotion regulation, while the older the participants were, the higher their interest in health, resulting in higher intention. For emotion regulation, intention increased with higher reappraisal scores and decreased with increasing suppression. Our results suggest that interest in health and emotion regulation should be considered when examining the relationship between age and goal-framing for health messages.


  • PLoS ONE

    PLoS ONE 15 (9), e0238989-e0238989, 2020-09-17

    Public Library of Science


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