2.1. Health Communication
2.2. Behavior Modeling
2.3. Social Cognitive Theory
2.4. Gender-Based Tailoring
3.1. Research Objectives
- Ensure the message is clear.
- Ensure the message is credible, believable and realistic.
- Provide good evidence for costs (threats) and benefits for not doing and doing the target behavior, respectively.
- Ensure the message uses an appeal that is appropriate for the target audience.
- Ensure the messenger is seen as a credible source of the information.
- Ensure the message will not be offensive or harm the target audience.
- Ensure the behavior the target audience is asked to perform is reasonably easy.
- Ensure the message gets and maintains the attention of the target audience.
3.2. Research Questions
3.3. Exploratory Model
4.1. Path Modeling
4.2. Analysis of Variance
5.1. Relationship between Perceived Motivation of Health Messages and Social–Cognitive Beliefs
5.2. Perceived Motivation of Health Messages
5.3. Gender Differences in the Relationship between Perceived Motivation of Health Messages and Users’ Social–Cognitive Beliefs about Bodyweight Exercise
5.4. Differences in Levels of Perceived Motivation of Health Messages of Different Types
5.5. Summary and Implications of Main Findings in the Design of Persuasive Health Messages
- Users are motivated by illness- and death-related health messages, but not by financial cost-, obesity-, and social stigma-related messages.
- There is a significant relationship between the perceived motivation of illness- and death-related messages and users’ social–cognitive beliefs about exercise.
- The more users are motivated by illness- and/or death-related messages, the more likely they are to have high outcome expectations, believe in their ability to perform a health behavior, and regulate themselves towards achieving the health goals.
- Due to the above findings, Illness- and death-related messages may be used as a persuasive technique to motivate behavior change in persuasive health communication.
- Social stigma-based messages related to obesity are likely to be effective in influencing the social–cognitive beliefs of females, but not those of males.
5.7. Limitations and Future Work
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Construct||Overall Question and Items|
|Health Message [Does not motivate me to start or continue exercising (1) to Completely motivates me to start or continue exercising (7)]||Please kindly rate the following messages below:|
[Not Confident (0) to Confident (100)] 
|How confident are you that you can complete at home the proposed weekly number of push-ups (entered previously) for the next 3 months.|
[Strongly Disagree (1) to
Strongly Agree (5)] 
|The [name of exercise] will…|
|Self-Regulation [Strongly Disagree (1) to |
Strongly Agree (5)] 
|To achieve my proposed weekly average number of push-ups…|
|Country of |
|Years on the Internet||0–3||4||0.6%|
|Message Type||Self-Efficacy||Self-Regulation||Outcome Expectation|
|Money||0.14||0.15||p < 0.05||0.08||0.00||n.s||0.10||0.06||n.s|
|Illness||0.16 *||0.11||n.s||0.20 *||0.16 *||n.s||0.17 *||0.03 *||n.s|
|Death||0.12||0.06||n.s||0.24 *||0.21 *||n.s||0.19 *||0.13||0.06|
|Stigma||0.02||0.17 *||p < 0.05||0.04||0.11||n.s||0.08||0.14 ***||p < 0.05|
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