Comparing the relative efficacy of narrative vs nonnarrative health messages in reducing health disparities using a randomized trial

Sheila T. Murphy, Lauren B. Frank, Joyee S. Chatterjee, Meghan B. Moran, Nan Zhao, Paula Amezola De Herrera, Lourdes A. Baezconde-Garbanati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives. We compared the relative efficacy of a fictional narrative film to a more traditional nonnarrative film in conveying the same health information. Methods. We used a random digit dial procedure to survey the cervical cancer-related knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of non-Hispanic White, Mexican American, and African American women, aged 25 to 45 years, living in Los Angeles, California, from 2011 to 2012. Participants (n = 704) were randomly assigned to view either a narrative or nonnarrative film containing the same information about how cervical cancer could be prevented or detected, and they were re-contacted 2 weeks and 6 months later. Results. At 2 weeks, both films produced a significant increase in cervical cancerrelated knowledge and attitudes, but these effects were significantly higher for the narrative film. At 6 months, viewers of both films retained greater than baseline knowledge and more positive attitudes toward Papanicolaou (Pap) tests, but women who saw the narrative were significantly more likely to have had or scheduled a Pap test. The narrative was particularly effective for Mexican American women, eliminating cervical cancer screening disparities found at baseline. Conclusions. Narratives might prove to be a useful tool for reducing health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2117-2123
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume105
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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