The Influence of Patient Identification and Narrative Transportation on Intentions to Participate in Cancer Research

JM Neil*, Aisling Gough, Frank Kee, TJ George, Jeffrey Pufahl, Janice Krieger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer decision-making interventions commonly utilize narratives as a persuasive strategy to increase identification with the message source, promote involvement with the topic, and elicit greater willingness to adopt recommended behaviors. However, there is little empirical research examining the mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of this strategy in the context of cancer research participation. Data for the current manuscript were collected as part of a larger study conducted with cancer patients (N = 413) from the USA, UK, and the Republic of Ireland. Participants viewed and evaluated video-recorded vignettes, illustrating different strategies for discussing clinical trials participation with family members. Results showed nationality was a significant predictor of identification with the main character (i.e., patient) in the vignette. Unexpectedly, these cross-national differences in identification disappeared when patients currently undergoing treatment had higher perceived susceptibility of their cancer. Identification with the main character in the vignettes was a significant predictor of intentions to participate in cancer research, but only when the mediating role of narrative transportation was considered. The findings demonstrate the importance of considering how individual and social identities influence identification with characters in cancer narratives and yield practical guidance for developing arts-based interventions to increase cancer research participation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Pages (from-to)715-734
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 03 May 2018


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