Individual differences in sensitivity to health communications: Consideration of future consequences

Sheina Orbell*, Marco Perugini, Tim Rakow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


There are reliable individual differences in the extent to which people consider the long- and short-term consequences of their behaviors. Such differences, assessed by the Consideration of Future Consequences (CFC) Scale (A. Strathman, F. Gleicher, D. S. Boninger, & C. S. Edwards, 1994), are hypothesized to influence the impact of a persuasive communication. In an experimental study, the time frame of occurrence of positive and negative consequences of engaging in a new colorectal cancer-screening program was manipulated in a sample of two hundred twenty 50-69-year-old men and women. CFC moderated (a) the processing of short- versus long-term consequences and (b) the persuasive impact of the different communications on behavioral intentions. Low CFC individuals produced more positive thoughts and were more persuaded when positive consequences were short term and negative consequences were long term. The opposite was true for high CFC individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-396
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Consideration of future consequences
  • Health communication
  • Individual differences
  • Persuasion
  • Theory of planned behavior


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