The present research examined regulatory fit in parental messages aimed at young children. Study 1 measured parents' chronic regulatory focus, asking them to select either positively or negatively framed messages for promotion- and prevention-focused outcomes. The results showed that parents preferred positive frames for promotion-focused messages and negative frames for prevention-focused messages. Furthermore, parents with a chronic promotion focus favored a positively framed strategy more than parents with a prevention focus. Study 2 found that parents adopted different message strategies depending on whether they favored an active responsive or an active restrictive parenting style. Together, these findings demonstrate for the first time the applicability of regulatory focus/fit theory to explain parents' preferences for positively and negatively framed messages targeting children.
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