Coping and Construal Level Matching Drives Health Message Effectiveness via Response Efficacy or Self-Efficacy Enhancement


DaHee Han

Authors: Han, D., Duhachek, A., Agrawal, N. 

Publication: Journal of Consumer Research 


Five experiments examine the nature of different coping strategies and their subsequent effects on the effectiveness of health messages. We theorize that the two strategies of problem-focused versus emotion-focused coping are systematically associated with distinct construal levels (lower vs. higher) and thus messages cast at different levels of construal are differentially effective when a particular coping strategy is being activated Specifically, we demonstrate that consumers primed with problem-focused strategies are more persuaded by messages presented at lower levels of construal whereas consumers primed with emotion-focused strategies are more persuaded by messages presented at higher levels of construal. In addition, we posit that matching with each different type of coping strategy (problem-focused vs. emotion-focused coping) is driven by distinct types of efficacy processes. In particular, we demonstrate that the effects of a match with problem-focused coping are driven by self-efficacy, and the effects of a match with emotion-focused coping are driven by response efficacy. These findings make a significant contribution by building bridges between three theoretical traditions: coping, construal level, and efficacy in the context of health messaging.

Read full article: Journal of Consumer Research, 17 July, 2016