A Meta-analysis of Narrative Game-based Interventions for Promoting Healthy Behaviors

Chun Zhou, Aurora Occa, Soyoon Kim, Susan Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Health interventions that use serious games have become increasingly popular. However, many of these games have been designed with few immersive game features which would improve users’ engagement with the persuasive messages. To address this issue, researchers have incorporated narrative elements in games to facilitate message processing and enhance behavioral change. There have been theoretical debates about whether narratives benefit these interventions; empirical evidences for their effects are slightly mixed. This meta-analysis provides a deeper understanding of the overall impact of narrative game-based interventions on health-related behaviors and their psychological determinants. Combining the results from 22 studies, this meta-analysis found that narrative game-based interventions were effective in changing behaviors, knowledge, self-efficacy, and enjoyment. These effects were moderated by factors such as the genre of the game, the genre of the story, group play, and participant age. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future design of narrative game-based interventions were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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