Document Type


Publication Date



The Extended Parallel Process Model posits that fear-appeal messages are processed only when message recipients perceive a critical level of threat. The more recent Terror Management Health Model suggests that, in addition to level of perceived threat, the nature of the threat also influences how target audiences process fear appeals. Specifically, fear appeals that utilize the threat of death as a consequence trigger both conscious and nonconscious responses that influence message recipients’ health-related decisions. Accounting for the influence of consciousness of death helps explain maladaptive responses that extant theory has been unable to explain. Results from an experiment indicate that, when the level of perceived fear was the same across participants, the Extended Parallel Process Model successfully predicted persuasive outcomes for fear appeals that utilized the threat of arrest or serious injury as a consequence of noncompliance. However, for fear appeals that utilized the threat of death as a consequence of noncompliance, as predicted by the Terror Management Health Model, ego involvement in the health-related behavior predicted persuasive outcomes more accurately than the dual fear control and danger control processes. These findings suggest that incorporating consciousness of death and ego involvement can avoid conceptual problems with the level-of-fear construct, provide a meaningful way to predict fear-appeal responses across target audiences, and explain maladaptive responses that have eluded the explanations of extant fear-appeal theories.

Copyright Statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Health Promotion International following peer review. The version of record

Hunt, D.M. & Shehryar, O. (2022 Aug). An Empirical Comparison of the Extended Parallel Process Model with the Terror Management Health Model. Health Promotion International, 37(4),

is available online at

Included in

Marketing Commons