Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Communication and Information

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Grant Harrington

Abstract

Emotion has long been implemented in persuasive messages and campaigns to influence attitudes and health behavior. Research demonstrates that messages often evoke more than one emotion during and after exposure, and this was previously viewed as an undesirable outcome; however, the literature suggests that the intentional inclusion of multiple emotions, or emotional flow, could positively impact persuasive outcomes, such as attitudes and behavioral intention.

The proposed study employs the concept of emotional flow, the intentional inclusion of more than one discrete emotion, in the context of narrative health blogs addressing mental health topics relevant to college students. The study specifically examines how the inclusion of a second discrete emotion influences transportation, identification, and attitudes.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of six conditions and read a narrative health blog designed to evoke either one or two discrete emotions. After message exposure, they responded a brief survey to assess discrete emotions, transportation, identification, attitudes, and demographics. Data were analyzed using ANOVAs and ANCOVAs.

The findings revealed that although the narratives elicited moderate levels of transportation and identification, there were not significant difference between conditions. Theoretical and practical implications for the study of narratives and emotional flow are discussed, in addition to practical implications for studying mental health.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.267

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