Health Message Framing_Dataset

Published: 11 March 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/2v8k7kk9vt.1


This dataset was used to examine the effect of health message framing on the affect of Arabic-speaking Saudi nationals and residents of Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 lockdown. Various types of message-frames (such as gain, loss, less severe, more sever, desirable and undesirable) were analysed. The data set also includes measures of depression and anxiety. Responses of three age-groups (young, middle-aged and old) were investigated in the study. The total number of the participants was 348. Explanation of the data coding is provided right below the dataset.


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Methods Materials Two types of sentences were composed for the purpose of the current study. First, we created 12 sets of sentences, each of which consisted of 4 sentences following this pattern: Gain-framed + desirable outcome: Wearing the face mask outside your home makes you enjoy good health. Gain-framed + undesirable outcome: Wearing the face mask outside your home protects you from suffering from the disease. Loss-framed + describable outcome: Not wearing the face mask outside your home deprives from enjoying good health. Loss-framed + undesirable outcome: Not wearing the face mask outside your home exposes you to suffering from the virus. The sentences in every set were of similar lengths—the difference could be a maximum of two words. Six of the sets included more severe measures (e.g., Avoiding holding gatherings for condolences in case of deaths maintains the health of those around you.) while the remaining six sets included less severe measures (e.g., Following health guidelines protects your safety and the safety of your family.) We later assigned one sentence of each set to one of four versions of the study surveys. This counter-balancing of sentences aimed to ensure that the participants see only one sentence of every set and thus do not guess the underlying message framing principles. Second, we composed 18 sentences to act as fillers which varied in their framing and were used in the 4 versions of the study survey. Instrument As explained earlier, we created four versions of the study survey and administered them through google forms. The surveys were written in the Arabic language because our target participants were Arabs, whether Saudi nationals or Arab residents in Saudi Arabia. All surveys consisted of five sections. The first four sections included a consent form, a biographical information form (including the participant’s age, gender, nationality, latest educational qualification and the Saudi city of residence), a translated version of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II; Beck, Steer & Brown, 1996) and a translated version of the “state” portion of the State-trait Anxiety Inventory (SAI; Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg & Jacobs, 1983). The English version of the two tests can be found in Appendices A and B, respectively. We used these two tests because they have been validated as measures of depression and anxiety. The last section of the survey included 30 health messages related to the typical COVID-19 preventative and precautionary measures (e.g., Keeping a safe distance between yourself and others increases your chances of safety.). The participants were required to read each message and rate it on a 1-6 Likert scale (i.e., 3+ extremely positive; 2+ moderately positive; 1+ little positive; 1- little negative; 2- moderately negative; 3- extremely negative) to express the emotions that these messages evoked for them. The 30 sentences consisted of 18 filler sentences and 12 target sentences.


Health Communication, COVID-19