2004
Volume 41, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236

Abstract

Abstract

This article addresses the questions if and how storytelling in health education can counterbalance the declining willingness to vaccinate. It is argued that stories in health communication can both create problems ánd provide solutions. The problems are illustrated with an analysis of online personal stories of parents who doubt or deny the necessity of vaccinating their children. The analysis shows how these stories put health care providers in the archetypical role of Ruler who deprives parents from their agency. Narrator and reader are put into the archetypical role of Good Mother, implying that vaccinating is the only possibility to regain agency and be a responsible parent. Responses to these stories by the government and health care providers are typically formulated in terms of factual, statistical information that is usually incapable of convincing vaccine-hesitant and vaccine-rejecting parents. A narrative approach can be a powerful alternative, provided that stories are first listened to before tailored stories are developed and told. These stories can unite different views about the possibilities to act and the consequences thereof, and can transform parents into Heroes protecting not only their own children but also the children of others. Such “story bridging” combines different types of stories in an interactive storytelling model for health education, which does justice to the target groups’ growing need for agency.

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2019-11-01
2021-09-20
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): archetype; health communication; narrative; social media; vaccination hesitancy
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