An Experimental Research of Narrative Persuasion and Family Discussion About Organ Donation: Examining Issue Importance and Communication Efficacy Within The Theory of Motivated Information Management (TMIM)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The project is situated in communication studies’ subfield of health communication, and uses an experimental approach to examine how to motivate and enable young adults, through storytelling, to discuss with their parents their wish to donate their own organs, posthumously. The story features emotions anticipated to be experienced in the future event and cogent wish appeals, which are approaches to convince parents of young adults honor their organ donation wish. Both will be assessed for its persuasiveness.

Hong Kong’s organ donation rate is among the lowest in the developed world [1]. For instance, half of the patients with kidney failure will die before an optimal cadaveric organ is available [1]. Therefore, Hong Kong’s situation of organ donation is a severe concern.

Surveys [2-3] consistently show that family opposition is a major barrier to organ donation; families’ refusal is commonly because their deceased loved one did not share with them their wish to donate [4]. Furthermore, Hong Kong’s opting-in system for donation requires family consent prior to extracting the deceased’s organs, regardless of the individual’s donation card indication. Therefore, to promote organ donation in Hong Kong, it is necessary to persuade people to tell their family their wish to donate their own organs, posthumously.

Narratives can be an appropriate form of communication to persuade young adults to express their donation wish to their parents; narratives can portray scenarios in which audiences can envision what their parents might experience by not telling them about their wish. Furthermore, narratives can foster vicarious learning through modeling (watching how others successfully convince their parents to support their donation wish). Although narratives have been recognized as an effective form of communication for health behavior change [5], the message features that could enhance narratives’ persuasiveness remain less understood.

Guided by the theory of motivated information management (TMIM) and research on organ donation, we propose an experiment to address the research gap: examining how narratives that feature different anticipated emotions and different cogent wish appeals can motivate and enable young adults to have family discussions about organ donation.

By identifying which anticipated emotions and cogent wish appeals influence the variables of issue importance and communication efficacy, the two key TMIM determinants that foster family discussion, this study's findings will advance the TMIM framework. Furthermore, it will inform health communicators about designing effective narrative content for promoting family discussion about the donation wish.
Effective start/end date1/01/2130/06/23


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