Title

How narrative focus and a statistical map shape health policy support among state legislators

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-2016

Abstract

This study attempts to advance theorizing about health policy advocacy with combinations of narrative focus and a statistical map in an attempt to increase state legislators’ support for poli- cies to address the issue of obesity by reducing food deserts. Specifically, we examine state legislators’ responses to variations in narrative focus (individual vs. community) about causes and solutions for food deserts in U.S. communities, and a statistical map (presence vs. absence) depicting the prevalence of food deserts across the United States. Using a Web-based random- ized experiment (N = 496), we show that narrative focus and the statistical map interact to produce different patterns of cognitive response and support for policies to reduce the preva- lence of food deserts. The presence of a statistical map showing the prevalence of food deserts in the United States appeared to matter only when combined with an individual narrative, off- setting the fact that the individual narrative in isolation produced fewer thoughts consistent with the story’s persuasive goal and more counterarguments in opposition to environmental causes and solutions for obesity than other message conditions. The image did not have an impact when combined with a story describing a community at large. Cognitive responses fully mediated message effects on intended persuasive outcomes. We conclude by discussing the study’s contributions to communication theory and practice.

Discipline

Business and Corporate Communications | Health Policy | Social Influence and Political Communication

Research Areas

Corporate Communication

Publication

Health Communication

Volume

31

Issue

2

First Page

242

Last Page

255

ISSN

1041-0236

Identifier

10.1080/10410236.2014.998913

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2014.998913

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