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Evidence-Based Resource Summary

Strength of Evidence: 
4 out of 4
4 out of 4
Year Published: 

Framing of Health Information Messages

Description of Resource: 
The same information about health effects can be framed either in positive words or in negative words. Attribute framing is the positive versus negative description of a specific attribute, for example, "the chance of survival with cancer is 2 out of 3" versus "the chance of mortality with cancer is 1 out of 3.” Goal framing is the description of the consequences an act as a gain or a loss, for example, "if you get a screening test for cancer, your survival will be prolonged" versus "if you don't get a screening test for cancer, your survival will be shortened.” There is a widely held belief that framing of health information messages can lead to different decisions and different health behaviors; this is described as the “framing effect.” This systematic review identified 35 studies of 16,342 people testing this hypothesis. It found that both attribute and goal framing may have little if any effect on health consumers' behavior.

Evidence-Based Resource Details

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Developed By: 
Cochrane Review
Developer Type: 
Non-Federal Government
Healthy People 2020 Topic Area(s): 
Health Communication and Health Information Technology
Healthy People 2020 Objectives: 
Resource Type: 
Systematic Review
Akl EA, Oxman AD, Herrin J, Vist GE, Terrenato I, Sperati F, Costiniuk C, Blank D, Schünemann H. Framing of health information messages. Cochrane Database Syst Rev [Internet]. 2011[cited 2017 12 5];(12):Article CD006777. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006777.pub2. Available from: