Health Communication through Media Narratives: Factors, Processes and Effects — Introduction
Narrative health communication is a form of persuasive communication in which a health message is presented in the form of a fictional or nonfictional story, as opposed to being presented as statistical evidence or arguments to promote health-related behaviors. Recently, meta-analyses have been conducted on the effectiveness of narrative health communication; however, systematic research is still needed to further the understanding of the mechanics underlying the effects of health narratives. Addressing this gap, this Special Section provides a synthesis of knowledge and direction in the field of narrative health communication, bringing together 10 original research articles. The reported studies investigate experiences mediating the effect of narratives on health outcomes, as well as the role of moderating factors, such as cultural background, form, content, and context-related features. All 10 studies reported here have important implications for the theory of narrative processing and effects, and they are instrumental to the practice of designing effective health communication messages.