How disgust enhances the effectiveness of fear appeals

Andrea Ketcham, Eugenia C. Wu, Gavan J. Fitzsimons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


The current research explores the role of disgust in enhancing compliance with fear appeals. Despite its frequent use in advertising and prevalence in consumer settings, little is known about the specific role that disgust plays in persuasion. This article explores the unique characteristics of disgust and examines its distinctive effect on persuasion. The results across a series of four studies demonstrate that adding disgust to a fear appeal appreciably enhances message persuasion and compliance beyond that of appeals that elicit only fear. Importantly, the results trace the persuasive effects of disgust to its strong and immediate avoidance reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-393
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Advertising
  • Compliance
  • Disgust
  • Fear
  • Persuasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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