Detweiler et al., 1999: Promoting the benefits of using sunscreen increased the likelihood of using it
Based on prospect theory, which suggests that people are risk-averse in the context of gains, the authors theorized that emphasizing “gains” rather than “losses” would promote prevention behaviors like sunscreen use. Beach goers were randomized to receive a brochure that highlighted the benefits of using sunscreen (e.g., “Protect yourself from the sun and you will help yourself stay healthy”) or the potential losses of not using sunscreen (e.g., “Expose yourself to the sun and you will risk becoming sick”). Whereas 71% of those in the gain-frame condition redeemed a coupon to obtain a free sample of sunscreen, only 53% of those in the loss-frame condition did so. Additionally, those who did not intend to use sunscreen reported greater intentions to do so in the gain-frame than loss-frame condition.