Instilling Belief in the Ability to Change for the Better: Narrative Persuasion for Sleep Hygiene Self-Efficacy

Melissa J. Robinson, Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The present experiment draws on social cognitive theory to examine how story protagonist self-efficacy (high vs. low) influences participants’ sleep hygiene-related self-efficacy and behavior three days after narrative exposure. Social comparisons as factors in narrative impact were examined. To ensure the robustness of findings, two different narratives served as stimuli. Results indicated that immediately after narrative exposure, participants in both the high and low self-efficacy protagonist conditions reported improved self-efficacy. However, only the high self-efficacy condition reported increased self-efficacy three days after narrative exposure, demonstrating lasting impacts. Social comparison moderated the effect of protagonist self-efficacy on participant self-efficacy immediately and three days after exposure: Participants in the high self-efficacy protagonist condition who reported greater social comparison experienced increased sleep-related self-efficacy. Further, a moderated mediation analysis demonstrated that participants with greater social comparison to a high self-efficacy protagonist engaged in more sleep hygiene behaviors as demonstrated in the narrative three days after exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-271
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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