Narrative Health Communication and Behavior Change: The Influence of Exemplars in the News on Intention to Quit Smoking

Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Journal of Communication (Impact Factor: 2.45). 06/2012; 62(3):473-492. DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01644.x
Source: PubMed


This study investigated psychological mechanisms underlying the effect of narrative health communication on behavioral intention. Specifically, the study examined how exemplification in news about successful smoking cessation affects recipients' narrative engagement, thereby changing their intention to quit smoking. Nationally representative samples of U.S. adult smokers participated in 2 experiments. The results from the 2 experiments consistently showed that smokers reading a news article with an exemplar experienced greater narrative engagement compared to those reading an article without an exemplar. Those who reported more engagement were in turn more likely to report greater smoking cessation intentions.

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    • "A substantial volume of media literature has addressed the nature and extent of this influence on audience perception, opinion, and behavior (Anderson, 1997; Devereux, 2003; Gregory & Miller, 1998; Keeble, 2001; Ross & Nightingale, 2003). Research has shown how samples in news articles significantly affect the perceptions and judgments of readers about issues (Cheng, Hawton, Lee, & Chen, 2007; Kim et al., 2012; Zillmann & Brosius, 2000). The news media affect how people perceive the salient issues of the day (McCombs & Reynolds, 2002). "
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    • "Such exemplification effects have consistently been replicated for different fields, for example for health campaigns (cf. Kim et al. 2012) or political campaigns and issues (cf. Moy and Rinke 2012; Lefevere, De Swert, and Walgrave 2012). "
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    • "Response options were 10-point Likert-type scales anchored at 1 = strongly disagree and 10 = strongly agree. Principle components factor analysis using varimax rotation showed the three reverse-coded items did not load with the other items (Kim et al., 2012; Murphy et al., 2011). Additionally, the item ''I found myself thinking of ways the film could have turned out differently'' also did not load with the scale. "
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