Health Communication| Operational and Conceptual Trends in Narrative Persuasion Research: Comparing Health- and Non-Health-Related Contexts

Michael Dahlstrom, Jeff Niederdeppe, Lijing Gao, Xiaowen Zhu


Interest in narrative persuasion has grown markedly since the turn of the 21st century, yet the concept of narrative at the center of this scholarly work remains a diffusely bounded construct. This study offers a moment of empirical reflection through a content analysis of peer-reviewed articles examining narrative persuasion in health- and non-health-related contexts to better define the conceptualizations and operationalizations of narrative that have been used to shape the direction and theorizing of narrative persuasion. We identify trends and potential biases in the literature, compare these patterns in studies focused on health-related topics and those targeting other issues, and suggest a variety of conceptualizations and possible relationships that may deserve more attention as this area of inquiry progresses.


narrative, persuasion, health communication, content analysis, experiments

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