Health Communication| Transportation Into Narrative Worlds and the Motivation to Change Health-Related Behavior

Timon Gebbers, John B. F. De Wit, Markus Appel


Stories are considered to be a potent means to change health-related attitudes, beliefs, and behavior because of recipients’ transportation into the narrative world. Little emphasis, however, has been given to the link between transportation and process variables that are pertinent to health behavior. Connecting narrative persuasion to the health action process approach, a model comprising transportation, risk severity, self-efficacy, and outcome expectancies, was specified to predict behavioral intentions. In an experiment, a short narrative video clip on drinking and driving was presented under conditions of low versus high transportation. A structural equation model showed that transportation directly influenced risk severity, which in turn influenced outcome expectancies and self-efficacy. Whereas outcome expectancies and self-efficacy were positively related to behavioral intentions, the link between risk severity and intentions was negative when the other variables were included in the model. Implications and future research on narrative health communication are discussed.


health narratives, health action process approach, transportation, drunk driving, narrative persuasion

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