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According to this theory, behaviour change may be achieved by appealing to an individual’s fears. Three components of fear arousal are postulated: the magnitude of harm of a depicted event; the probability of that event’s occurrence; and the efficacy of the protective response. These, it is contended, combine multiplicatively to determine the intensity of protection motivation, resulting in activity occurring as a result of a desire to protect oneself from danger. This is the only theory within the broader cognitive perspective that explicitly uses the costs and benefits of existing and recommended behaviour to predict the likelihood of change.

Reference: Munro et al., 2007