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Storytelling and Behavior Change

Posted by on July 8th, 2008 Posted in: Research Reads, Storytelling


Hinyard, L.J.; Kreuter, M.W. “Using narrative communication for health behavior change: a conceptual, theoretical, and empirical overview.” Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(5):777-792.

This article advocates use of narrative communication in motivating people to change their health behaviors, pointing out that “understanding any situation involves storing and retrieving stories from memory.” The authors speculate that narrative ways of learning and knowing may be especially useful when addressing issues for which reason and logic have limitations, such as morality, religion, values, and social relationships. Narratives can help overcome resistance to a message, facilitate observational learning, and provide identification with characters. Stories can be combined with more “scientific” methods to achieve optimum results.

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