Actions Speak Louder Than Words: How Characters’ Effectiveness as Message Sources Depend on Their Story Experiences
A television (TV) character’s actions and the consequences of these actions in TV storylines can shape the audience’s own behavioral intentions, especially if the audience identifies with that character. The current research examines how storylines depicting positive versus negative consequences of drinking affect youths’ drinking intentions, and whether post-narrative intervention messages delivered by story characters alter these influences. Results indicate that a post-narrative intervention can correct drinking intentions shaped by a pro-alcohol storyline, but the effectiveness depends on the source: a peripheral character is more effective than the main character at delivering a corrective message. This research pinpoints the role of identification with the main character as a key driver of stories’ influence and a key focus of health intervention efforts to correct these stories’ potentially undesirable impact on vulnerable audiences.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, in Health Communicationon March 2020, available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2020.1733212
Russell, Cristel Antonia; Hamby, Anne; Chapoton, Boris; and Régnier Denois, Véronique. (2020). "Actions Speak Louder Than Words: How Characters’ Effectiveness as Message Sources Depend on Their Story Experiences". Health Communication, 36(5), 585-592. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2020.1733212