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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 5, 2021

Communicating about Alzheimer’s disease: Designing and testing a campaign using a framing approach

  • Fátima Cuadrado EMAIL logo , Adoración Antolí , Juan A. Moriana and Julia Vacas
From the journal Communications


The prevalence of negative representations of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) reinforces the stigma and negative attitudes toward this dementia. To mitigate these negative views, campaigns have been launched by several organizations. This study aims to explore the effect of framing in AD campaigns on attitude change. For this purpose, several posters were designed with framed messages defining dementia (dualism, unity, and control) and 189 participants were shown the posters. In order to analyze the effect of the different frames, a repeated-measures design was used, in which attitudes toward dementia were measured three times. The impact of the campaign and the emotions it produced were recorded as well as the effects of the participants’ experience with AD and the importance they attached to it. Posters with unity-framed messages produced a positive and lasting change in attitudes toward dementia and higher levels of happiness, while dualism-framed messages had a greater impact and produced feelings of sadness, anger, and fear but did not change the audience’s attitude. Although more research is needed on persuasion in campaigns, the findings can serve to guide the design of AD campaigns.


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Appendix A: Dualism, unity, and control messages used in the study

The dualism-framed, unity-framed, and control messages as translated from Spanish.

Messages of the body-mind dualism frame

  • The light of her reason will fade, and she will live in darkness.

  • He is dying slowly while his body remains intact.

  • Her mental capacity disappears, and she will become a vegetable.

  • An emptiness gradually invades him and causes him to lose his identity.

  • He is losing his memories and with them his identity.

  • Dementia confiscated her soul, only her body remains.

Messages of the body-mind unity frame

  • He can recognize someone who loves and is kind to him.

  • She will always be more important than her illness.

  • She can feel emotions and express what she is feeling at every moment.

  • He exits and recovers his senses when someone touches him.

  • He is still the same person; he’ll never lose his identity.

  • She will lose some of her abilities, but she will still feel emotions.

Messages for control condition

  • The Guadalquivir River crosses the province of Seville.

  • Olive oil is obtained from the fruit of the olive tree.

  • There are twenty-four hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour.

  • The flowers in my garden are very pretty in spring.

  • Spain is a country made up of 17 autonomous communities.

  • France is a European country, and its capital is Paris.

Published Online: 2021-11-05
Published in Print: 2021-11-03

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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