Are some narratives better than others? The impact of different narrative forms on adolescents’ intentions to text and drive

Courtney L. Scherr*, Helen Lillie, Chelsea L. Ratcliff, Melinda Krakow, Miao Liu, Jakob D. Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychological reactance theory posits individuals seek to restore freedom when threatened. Communication scholars have hypothesized persuasive messages can constitute threats to freedom. The current study engages questions about the potential for different forms of narratives in public service announcements (PSAs) to trigger freedom threats by examining responses to a PSA campaign that utilized three forms of narrative (celebrity testimonials, peer testimonials, and accident stories) to decrease adolescent texting and driving intentions. Participants (N = 214) watched anti-texting and driving narratives, and completed measures of threat to freedom, anger, negative cognition, and attitudes/intentions toward texting/driving. Compared to celebrity/peer testimonial PSAs, accident stories triggered increased anger and, indirectly, decreased intentions to drive safely. The results also suggest the need for continued examination of the best way to model psychological reactance theory, and the value of further research explicating anger as a mechanism of message effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2176-2188
Number of pages13
JournalRisk Analysis
Volume42
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Anger first model
  • intertwined model
  • narratives
  • psychological reactance theory
  • risk communication
  • separated model
  • texting while driving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)

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