Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 325–343 | Cite as

Expectancy of success, subjective task-value, and message frame in the appraisal of value-promoting messages made prior to a high-stakes examination

  • David W. PutwainEmail author
  • Wendy Symes


Previous research has examined how subjective task-value and expectancy of success influence the appraisal of value-promoting messages used by teachers prior to high-stakes examinations. The aim of this study was to examine whether message-frame (gain or loss-framed messages) also influences the appraisal of value-promoting messages. Two hundred and fifty-two participants in Years 12 and 13 read vignettes of fictional students who were high or low in subjective-task value, and expectancy of success, and asked to imagine how that student would appraise either a gain or loss-framed message. A challenge appraisal followed vignettes with high subjective task-value and high expectancy of success whereas a threat appraisal followed vignettes with high subjective task-value and low expectancy of success. A loss-framed message resulted in a stronger threat appraisal, and a gain-framed message in a greater disregarding appraisal for the vignette with high subjective task-value and high expectancy of success. Value-promoting messages can be appraised in different ways depending on combinations of intrapersonal (subjective task-value and expectancy of success) and interpersonal (message-frame) influences.


Value-promoting messages Fear appeals Subjective task-value Expectancy of success Message-frame 



The authors would like to thank Anya Zarod, Alistair Burr and Hannah Wilkinson for their help in data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationEdge Hill UniversityOrmskirk, LancashireUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

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