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.
- emotional appeals
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