Narrative and framing: A test of an integrated message strategy in the exercise context

Jennifer B. Gray, Nancy G. Harrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Health communication interventions encouraging exercise may aid in mitigating the obesity crisis in the United States. Although much research has investigated behavioral predictors of exercise, little work has explored message characteristics most persuasive in the exercise context. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to test a message strategy drawing on previous work in health behavior theory combined with persuasion theories (exemplification theory and prospect theory) to encourage positive exercise attitudes, control beliefs, and intentions. The authors report the results of a controlled experiment testing messages using gain or loss frames and narrative or statistical evidence. Results indicate that gain-framed messages are significantly more successful in promoting positive exercise variables and are perceived as more effective than are loss-framed or control messages. The authors discuss the implications of the results for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-281
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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