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Journal Article


Hendriks H, Scholz C, Larsen H, de Bruijn GJ, van den Putte B. Health Commun. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2020, Informa Healthcare)






A promising avenue for health behavior change is to influence conversational valence, that is, the extent to which people talk negatively or positively about health behaviors. However, no research to date has experimentally manipulated conversational valence, thereby inhibiting conclusions about causal inferences. This study aims to fill this gap by investigating the influence of conversational valence instructions on perceived conversational valence and subsequent binge drinking determinants. College students (N = 138) read either negative or positive conversational valence instructions. Subsequently, dyads engaged in a 5-min conversation about drinking, before self-reporting perceived conversational valence and binge drinking determinants (i.e., attitudes, norms, perceived behavioral control, and intentions).

RESULTS revealed that valence instructions influenced binge drinking determinants via perceived conversational valence. Those instructed to talk negatively about binge drinking reported healthier binge drinking determinants than those instructed to talk positively. Furthermore, this effect on binge drinking determinants was mediated by perceived conversational valence. These findings demonstrate that conversational valence about health can be manipulated through simple instructions and confirm the idea that conversational valence is causally linked to binge drinking determinants. Thereby, these findings show the potential that interpersonal communication in general, and conversational valence instructions, in particular, have when integrated in health interventions.

Language: en


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