Guilt or Fear Appeal

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Bring to mind pictures of sad puppy eyes and scrawny cats in dirty cages. Or think of images of impoverished children and messages about how a small gift can make a huge difference in their lives. Or recall public service announcements that feature frightening images of the effects of drug use and smoking. Consider how these and similar types of appeals use guilt or fear to try to persuade you to take action.

What are the ethical issues around using persuasive techniques that are intended to make recipients feel uncomfortable but for beneficial reasons? That is one of the issues you will explore this week through this Discussion. You will respond to a scenario in which you, as a professional in the line of work you currently do or would like to do, are tasked with designing a strong message using either the guilt or the fear appeal. As you create your messages, consider the relationship between the outcome you hope to achieve and the ethics of how you choose to get there.

To prepare:

  • Review the Week 5 Learning Resources.
  • Develop the scenario by incorporating the following details. You may make up these details or base them on your workplace experiences. Include:
  • Name and type of agency or organization
  • Its purpose or mission
  • Purpose of the message you are creating and what issue(s) it aims to address
  • Target audience for the message
  • Consider whether the fear or guilt appeal will be more effective for the target audience and to achieve the message goals.
  • Create the text of the message, to include in your Discussion post.
  • Check your message for ethical compliance using the code of ethics associated with the type of professional organization you chose.

By Day 3

Post responses to the following:

  • Present the text of your message and the relevant contextual details, including the sponsoring agency/organization, message purpose, and target audience. Explain how your message demonstrates the fear or the guilt appeal and your assessment of the message’s compliance with ethical standards.
  • Justify your choice of appeal and why it should be effective for the target audience and issue(s).

Only the textbook and links attached below should be used and cited. Provide proper citations and references in APA.

750 words min.

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). (2000). Code of ethics. Retrieved from

American Psychological Association (APA). (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct: Including 2010 amendments. Retrieved from

NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals. (2013). Code of ethics. Retrieved from

National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2008). Code of ethics. Retrieved from…

National Organization for Human Services (NOHS). (2015). Ethical standards for human service professionals. Retrieved from…

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