Narrative persuasion and stigma: Using news accounts to denormalize texting while driving

Despite nearly universal texting while driving bans in U.S. states, distracted driving still poses a major risk for American motorists and pedestrians on a daily basis. The authors argue that texting while driving behavior, due to its cultural, social, and psychological motivations, may be addressed by cultivating a stigma to denormalize TWD much in the same way public health campaigns and bans did with tobacco use. While extant strategies may similarly stigmatize this risky behavior, the authors contend the stigmatizing effect of news narratives offers an untapped and unexamined resource. In this paper the authors draw on emergent findings in narrative persuasion work to present an exploratory analysis and evidence indicates news narratives, through narrative engagement, can both stigmatize TWD behavior and diminish attitudes toward distracted driving. These initial findings are then validated against an independent sample. If applied widely, this method may be applied to increase social pressure against distracted driving, leading to fewer people engaging in TWD behavior, and making roads safer.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01764918
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 13 2021 3:28PM