Olayinka Susan OGUNDOYIN, Ph.D., Department of Mass Communication Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria.
HIV and AIDS constitute one of the health challenges all over the world. To prevent its spread, health message designers employed the use of fear appeal to instill fear in people. This study aimed at examining behavioural response to fear appeal messages and the demographic indices like age, sex, and literacy levels of the people within Ibadan Metropolis, in South Western Nigeria. The survey research method was employed and a total of 200 copies of the questionnaire were administered, out of which 187 were completed and returned. The purposive sampling technique was used to enlist into the study respondents who have been exposed to fear appeal messages and those who are in the vulnerable age and are more likely to engage in high risk sexual behaviours. The data obtained was analyzed and relevant proportions calculated. The findings show that the public perception was good as they grew older, while the respondents who were in the prime of their age had a poor perception towards the messages, but those within the age group of 20-29, 30-39 years were seen to have the poorest perception. It also revealed that the lower the education the poorer the perception of fear appeal messages. The perception of unmarried singles was also seen to be the poorest compared to the married ones. Health message designers should look into more effective ways of designing messages which will be devoid of fear and suitable for all people irrespective of their socio-demographic status.
Keywords: fear appeal, HIV and AIDS, campaign, perception, behavioural response