Talking about Decisions: The Facilitating Effect of a Celebrity Health Announcement on the Communication of Online Personal Experiences around Decision-making

Elizabeth Sillence, Rachel Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This study examines how posters on an online forum discussed their own current and past decision-making in response to a celebrity health announcement. We examined messages in response to a celebrity narrative, and extracted those explicitly related to decision-making around genetic testing and preventative surgery. Using deductive coding we identified different types of decision-making narratives, and with inductive coding we examined how users discussed decision-making activities. Guided by the literature on narrative content types in decision-making, and on celebrity health narratives, we found that the celebrity decision announcement facilitated social sharing in relation to two key decision-making activities. First, identifying with the celebrity allowed people to reflect and compare their own personal health circumstances. This empowered readers to appraise and select options about their current decision-making regarding preventative surgery. Second, the announcement allowed an extension of the discussion beyond the celebrity, and acted as a catalyst encouraging other people to share their own previous decision-making experiences. These experiences contained a mix of narratives content types, and provided an opportunity for posters to evaluate their decisions, and to contribute to a repository of decision-making examples for others. Health narratives act as communication devices in decision-making, and we discuss the findings in relation to the extension of the educational and persuasive function of celebrity health narratives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Communication
Early online date14 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019

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