Reinforcement or Reactance? Examining the Effect of an Explicit Persuasive Appeal Following an Entertainment-Education Narrative


Corresponding author: Emily Moyer-Gusé; e-mail:


Entertainment-education interventions frequently include an explicit persuasive appeal, such as an epilogue, at their conclusion. This may help to overcome potential limitations of narrative persuasion by highlighting and clarifying the underlying message. Despite this potential, an explicit persuasive appeal may also undermine the subtle approach that distinguishes narrative persuasion and thereby induce reactance and/or counterarguing. The purpose of this study was to experimentally test these two possible outcomes. In particular, the effect of an explicit persuasive appeal in the context of a dramatic television program about the dangers of drinking and driving was examined. Overall, results revealed that the narrative and explicit persuasive appeal interact to influence drinking-and-driving attitudes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.