Term of Award

Spring 1990

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Richard Rogers

Committee Member 1

Margaret Lloyd

Committee Member 2

Paul Kleinginna


An experiment with college students examined the possible moderating effects of locus of control in attitude change following a fear appeal communication. A self-relevant scenario depicting an automobile accident was used to induce a change in likelihood estimates for that event in both internal and external subjects. A phone interview was used to ascertain whether the attitude change had subsequently induced protection motivation according to Rogers' (1975) protection motivation theory. The external subjects reported significantly higher likelihood estimates than the internals following the scenario manipulation presumably because of their expectation of noncontingency between behavior and events. In addition, the experimental subjects, after having read about the accident scenario, displayed a significant increase in protection motivation by reporting a higher degree of agreement to traffic safety items than control subjects. External subjects were also found to display higher protection motivation than internals regardless of scenario manipulation. The results are discussed in relation to a possible 'sleeper effect' found in scenario research.

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