Using stories to battle unintentional injuries: Narratives in safety and health communication
AbstractAfter 14 years of rising death rates due to unintentional injuries in the U.S., it is time to ask how safety messages can be redesigned to have a greater impact on risky behavior. To this end, many researchers have called for a new, narrative approach to prevention messages--based on persuasive stories about people who have suffered injuries and illnesses in the past. Still, there is scant evidence that story-based communications are more effective than equivalent non-narrative messages at changing actual (rather than self-reported) safety and health behavior. Our research examined the impact of injury stories on actual safety behavior in a controlled experimental setting at a US university. Teams of participants assembled a product (a child's swing) using written instructions. The instructions contained safety messages targeting assembly mistakes that have been linked to serious injuries in children who play on swings. Participant teams were randomly assigned to three conditions: assembly instructions containing story-based safety messages, instructions with concrete (but non-anecdotal) safety messages, and instructions with traditional abstract safety messages. After adjustment for covariates, story-based messages resulted in a 19 percent improvement in safety behavior, compared with non-narrative communications. Importantly, injury stories did not create undue fear of the message object, demonstrating that brief anecdotes about accident victims can convince people to take reasonable precautions without creating unwarranted alarm about risks.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 70 (2010)
Issue (Month): 9 (May)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.