Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Barry Edelstein.


There is evidence that the manner in which relevant information is framed can influence decisions that are based on that information. That is, information may be presented in a positive frame (i.e., describing benefits gained from engaging in behaviors) or in a negative frame (i.e., describing losses from not engaging in behaviors). The effect of information frame on older adults' decision to comply or not comply with health behavior recommendations is unclear due to a paucity of research. In an attempt to understand factors that influence older adult healthy behavior decision making, the current study examined variables that might predict whether positively or negatively framed information elicits greater compliance with health recommendations. Positively and negatively framed messages promoting skin cancer prevention and detection were distributed to older and younger adults. Participants rated their intentions to engage in prevention and detection behaviors. Intentions to engage in prevention behaviors was related to lower numeracy ability. Additionally, intentions to engage in prevention behaviors were stronger among older adults than younger adults. No significant difference was found across numeracy ability or age groups in intentions to engage in detection behaviors. Additionally, there were not significant differences in intentions to engage in prevention or detection behaviors when the efficacy level of these behaviors varied. History of engaging in prevention behaviors was related to intentions to engage in future prevention behaviors in the positive frame condition and in the negative frame condition. In conclusion, older adults reacted similarly to younger adults following exposure to framed messages, and endorsed stronger intentions than the younger adults to engage in prevention behaviors regardless of message frame. Additionally, positively-framed prevention messages were more persuasive than negatively-framed messages among people with a history of engaging in prevention behaviors. Recommendations for future research include examining variables associated with increased compliance among individuals with a weaker history of engaging in the recommended behaviors should be explored in future studies.