Features of Empathy–Arousing Strategic Messages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


There has been evidence that empathy-arousing messages might be an effective and ethical approach to persuasion in health communication. Knowledge of intrinsic message features is needed to better design and craft such messages. The goals of this research were (a) to identify message features with the potential to arouse state empathy, (b) to verify the association between the identified message features and state empathy, and (c) to determine if state empathy mediates the impact of the message features on persuasion and social stigma. In the present study, a coding scheme was developed for empathy-arousing message features; 532 individuals recruited from Qualtrics Panel each viewed five messages randomly selected from a total of 20 stimuli messages that varied in empathy message features. Multilevel modeling analyses confirmed the association between the identified message features and state empathy; and state empathy’s mediating role of message feature effects on persuasion and social stigma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1329-1339
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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