Researchers at Penn State University conducted two studies which explored how hopeful messaging can make people more likely to take preventative action regarding health concerns. The findings suggest a little motivation can go a long way, whether addressing hair loss or hip pain.
Both studies revealed hope and self-efficacy (a person’s belief that they can help themselves) greatly influenced how likely participants were to take actions against skin cancer, for example whether they would wear protective clothing or sunscreen.
Methodology and findings
The first study asked 341 participants, who ranged from 17 to 72 years of age, to read and react to an article which explained the dangers of skin cancer and who it was likely to affect. It also emphasised what actions could be taken to prevent it and how effective those measures are.
The participants were asked to report on the emotions they felt after reading it, paying particular to ‘hope states’ such as ‘optimistic’, ‘hopeful’ and ‘encouraged’ – hope and self-efficacy ultimately played a large role in predicting the intentions of participants to take measures ensuring sun safety.
The second study recruited 382 undergraduate college students to watch watch and answer questions about a melanoma awareness video.
A follow-up survey was completed by 367 of the students; findings revealed hope played a role in adopting sun safety measures, with many participants actively engaging in those safety behaviours.
Hope for hair loss
These findings highlight the critical link between physical and emotional health. As Jessica Myrick, associate professor of communications at Penn State, explains, “We often think of emotions as irrational, but what our research is pointing to is that emotions can help us do the things that will keep us healthy and safe, so it’s important to understand the broad scope of emotional responses to different type of messages and messaging components”.
While fear often succeeds at grabbing attention, it might not lead to behaviours that could help people manage their health effectively. This is particularly relevant to the topic of hairloss, a process which can often be traumatic and demotivating for those experiencing its various forms.
Men, in particular, regularly cite what they would be willing to sacrifice to maintain a healthy head of hair, with examples ranging from eyesight to employment.
It’s easier said than done, but, as the research points out, a little bit of positivity and confidence can go a long way. Considering this approach, being pro-active with hair loss can be hugely empowering, whether you choose to embrace it or combat it.
All hair loss treatment courses offered by Belgravia are individually tailored to meet the requirement of each client. Those receiving treatments often remark that seeing their levels of regrowth in the professional photo-scans (taken during their quarterly check-ups to monitor their progress) really motivates them to keep going.
However, it is crucial that hair loss treatment is used consistently, as directed, so keeping motivated during treatment is key. Using it in an ad-hoc manner won’t bring tangible results as medication requires consistent use in order to have the best chance of being effective. Furthermore, everyone responds differently to treatment so patience is crucial. Some people may respond within three months, while others may take longer, especially in cases where there is a greater extent of hair thinning before treatment is started.
One motivational trick which treatment users, both those who come in to Belgravia for regular check-ups, and those who follow home-based courses, is to use photographs to keep track of your progress. Instagram – whether a public or private account – can be particularly helpful for tracking the difference in regrowth and overall density before and after starting a bespoke hair regimen. It won’t cost you anything but may help to get the most from your treatment course by keeping you motivated.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.