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Narrative versus Nonnarrative: The Role of Identification, Transportation, and Emotion in Reducing Health Disparities

Authors


Corresponding author: Sheila T. Murphy; e-mail: smurphy@usc.edu

Abstract

This research empirically tests whether using a fictional narrative produces greater impact on health-related knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intention than presenting the identical information in a more traditional, nonfiction, nonnarrative format. European American, Mexican American, and African American women (N = 758) were surveyed before and after viewing either a narrative or nonnarrative cervical cancer-related film. The narrative was more effective in increasing cervical cancer-related knowledge and attitudes. Moreover, in response to the narrative featuring Latinas, Mexican Americans were most transported, identified most with the characters, and experienced the strongest emotions. Regressions revealed that transportation, identification with specific characters, and emotion contributed to shifts in knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. Thus, narrative formats may provide a valuable tool in reducing health disparities.

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