Getting the message across: Examining Information Presentation and Healthcare Decision Making Among Older Adults
Previous research has demonstrated that the valence of healthcare messages influences attitudes, and that the processing of valenced information changes with age (Carstensen & Mikels, 2005; Levin, Schneider, & Gaeth, 1998). Study 1 examined differences in health opinions and memory by presenting twenty-five older adults (M = 74.5 years) and twenty-four younger adults (M = 20.3 years) positively and negatively framed messages in healthcare pamphlets. Older adults rated positive pamphlets more informative than negative pamphlets and remembered positive versus negative messages better than younger adults. There were no age differences in health attitudes between positive and negative pamphlets. Study 2 replicated Study 1 using physician vignettes rather than pamphlets, yielding results trending in the predicted direction with positive physicians rated more informed than negative physicians. These findings demonstrate a positive bias in older adult memory, as well an influence of valence on their perceptions of informative value.
Older adults; framing; positivity effect; healthcare
dissertation or thesis