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Narratives and Cancer Communication


Melanie C. Green; e-mail:


Narratives can be an effective means of communicating cancer-related information. Transportation into narrative worlds, or immersion into a story, is a primary mechanism of narrative persuasion (Green & Brock, 2000, 2002). Transportation theory extends the domain of traditional message effects theories, as well as providing mechanisms for behavior change. Transporting narratives can both change beliefs and motivate action, and may be particularly useful for conveying cancer information because they reduce counterarguments (and thus help individuals overcome barriers to treatment seeking); facilitate the mental simulation of unknown, difficult, or frightening procedures (e.g., screening); provide role models for behavior change; and create strong attitudes that are based on both cognition and emotion.