European Journal of Health Communication https://ejhc.org/ <p>The European Journal of Health Communication (EJHC) is a peer-reviewed open access journal for high-quality health communication research with relevance to Europe or specific European countries. It aims to represent the international character of health communication research given the cultural, political, economic, and academic diversity in Europe.&nbsp;</p> University of Zurich, IKMZ – Department of Communication and Media Research en-US European Journal of Health Communication 2673-5903 <p>The authors agree to the following license and copyright agreement:</p> <p><em>a.</em> Authors retain copyright in their work.</p> <p><em>b.</em> Authors grant the European Journal of Health Communication the right of first publication online on the internet (on the publication platform HOPE of the Main Library of the University of Zurich).</p> <p><em>c.</em> The electronic contributions on the internet are distributed under the „Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International“- License (CC BY 4.0). This license allows others to copy and redistribute the work in any medium or format, to remix, transform and build upon the material with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in the European Journal of Health Communication . These conditions are irrevocable. The full text of the license may be read under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/</a>.</p> <p><em>d.</em> Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of their work, as long as the conditions of the CC BY 4.0 License are fulfilled and initial publication in the European Journal of Health Communication is acknowledged.</p> <p><em>e.</em> Authors grant the Editors commercial rights, using a publishing house, to produce hardcopy volumes of the journal for sale to libraries and individuals, as well as to integrate the manuscript, its title, and its abstract in databases, abstracting and indexing services, and other similar information services.</p> <p><em>f.</em> This agreement is subject to possible legal disclosure obligations.</p> <p><em>g.</em> This agreement is governed by Swiss law. Court of jurisdiction is Zürich.</p> Vague Language in Online Medical Consultation https://ejhc.org/article/view/ejhc.2021.001 <p>Online medical consultation has become increasingly popular, while little is known about what features of such service can impact users’ emotions and behaviours. This study looked into the language features of online text-based medical consultation. Specifically, the aim of this paper was to examine the effects of vague language (i.e., non-specific, imprecise language) on health-related uncertainty, and its affective and behavioural consequences, while considering individual differences in regulatory focus. A between-subject (vague language vs. precise language vs. control condition) web-based experiment was conducted (<em>N</em> = 249), where participants in the experimental groups read virtual doctor-patient conversations where the doctor used either vague or precise language. Results showed that vague language induced more uncertainty than precise language (p = .010); such uncertainty was appraised as a danger (<em>r</em> = .18, <em>p</em> = .004) but not an opportunity (<em>r</em> = .01, <em>p</em> = .932), and subsequently led to negative emotions (<em>r</em> = .45, <em>p</em> &lt; .001). No effects were found on behavioural outcomes, and there was no moderation from regulatory focus. The results suggest that online healthcare providers should refrain from using vague language in communication with patients to avoid eliciting uncertainty and subsequent negative feelings. Future research is needed to further examine the behavioural effects of uncertainty and explore factors that could foster the appraisal of opportunity.</p> Linwei He Eline Smit Copyright (c) 2021 Linwei He, Eline Smit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2021-04-06 2021-04-06 2 1 1 28 10.47368/ejhc.2021.001