What are you afraid of? Probably a lot of things. If there is something you are afraid of, you will avoid it. That’s what fear appeals do, they make you fear something to avoid it. Fear appeals can be used in good ways (think CDC’s anti-smoking campaign). Some in not so good ways (think of Dr. Wakefield’s Lancet study forever incorrectly linking the MMR vaccine to autism). The Protection Motivation Theory first developed in 1975 was designed to explain fear appeals.