The power of narratives: The effect of entertainment television organ donation storylines on the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors of donors and nondonors

Susan E. Morgan, Lauren Movius, Michael J. Cody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

99 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing on theories of social learning, social representations and the organ donation model, online surveys were used to examine the impact of organ donation storylines of 4 U.S. television dramas (CSI: NY, Numb3rs, House, and Grey's Anatomy) on viewers' attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors. Results revealed that viewers acquired knowledge from the content of each drama, despite the fact that some content was inaccurate. Viewers who were not organ donors prior to exposure to the dramas were more likely to decide to donate organs if the drama explicitly encouraged donation, portrayed characters revealing how they had become donors and discussed the merits of donating. Viewers were also more likely to become an organ donor if they were emotionally involved in the narrative. Implications for using dramas to educate and motivate the public were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-151
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Communication
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 8 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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