Telling Global Public Health Stories: Narrative Message Design for Issues Management

Joshua B. Barbour, Marissa J. Doshi, Leandra H. Hernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Global Health (CDC CGH), this study compared narrative and non-narrative message designs for global public health initiative issues management. A multiple-message experimental design prompted participants (N = 669) to read a message about a CDC CGH initiative, and measured perceptions of agency reputation, support for a global public health mission, and intentions to share information. Narrative message design had direct effects on intentions to share the message interpersonally and through social media and indirect effects on the outcomes through perceptions of message features and mediating states (i.e., story structure, understanding, personal relevance, information overload) and transportation. The study contributes to theory and practice by confirming the mediating role of transportation, building on a message features approach to the study of narrative persuasion, and speaking to the challenges of issues management in global public health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)810-843
Number of pages34
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • actional legitimacy
  • global public health
  • issues management
  • narrative persuasion
  • transportation theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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