Guilt Appeals in Persuasive Communication: A Meta-Analytic Review

Monique Turner, Stephen Rains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research examining the effects of guilt appeals on attitudes and behavioral intentions has been inconsistent. Some scholars have found that guilt appeal intensity has a curvilinear relationship with attitudes and intentions, whereas others have reported that the relationship is linear. Random-effects meta-analysis (k = 26) was used to investigate this issue. More intense guilt appeals led to greater levels of perceived guilt (r = .29, k = 24). Meta-regression analyses showed that the amount of perceived guilt caused by guilt appeals was not linearly nor curvilinearly related to the impact of guilt appeal intensity on attitudes/behavioral intentions. Guilt appeals did, however, cause feelings of anger (r = .24, k = 8). The implications of these findings for guilt scholarship are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-700
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Studies
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Guilt
  • anger
  • emotional appeals
  • marketing
  • persuasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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