Impact of narratives on persuasion in health communication: A meta-analysis

Fuyuan Shen*, Vivian C SHEER, Ruobing Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

368 Citations (Scopus)


This meta-analysis assessed the persuasive effects of narratives in health communication. A search of the literature identified 25 studies (N = 9,330) that examined the effects of narratives on persuasion as measured by changes in attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. Analyses of the effect sizes indicated that, overall, narratives had a small impact on persuasion (r =.063, p <.01). Narratives delivered via audio and video produced significant effects; print-based narratives, however, did not exhibit a significant impact. Further, not all health issues were equally affected by narrative messages aiming at intervention. Those narratives that advocated detection and prevention behaviors led to significant effects, whereas those advocating cessation behaviors did not have significant effects. These findings offer both theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Advertising
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Communication
  • Marketing


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