Comparing narrative and informational videos to increase mammography in low-income African American women

Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Dec;81 Suppl(Suppl):S6-14. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.09.008. Epub 2010 Nov 10.


Objective: Compare effects of narrative and informational videos on use of mammography, cancer-related beliefs, recall of core content and a range of reactions to the videos.

Method: African American women (n=489) ages 40 and older were recruited from low-income neighborhoods in St. Louis, MO and randomly assigned to watch a narrative video comprised of stories from African American breast cancer survivors (Living Proof) or a content-equivalent informational video using a more expository and didactic approach (Facts for Life). Effects were measured immediately post-exposure and at 3- and 6-month follow-up.

Results: The narrative video was better liked, enhanced recall, reduced counterarguing, increased breast cancer discussions with family members and was perceived as more novel. Women who watched the narrative video also reported fewer barriers to mammography, more confidence that mammograms work, and were more likely to perceive cancer as an important problem affecting African Americans. Use of mammography at 6-month follow-up did not differ for the narrative vs. informational groups overall (49% vs. 40%, p=.20), but did among women with less than a high school education (65% vs. 32%, p<.01), and trended in the same direction for those who had no close friends or family with breast cancer (49% vs. 31%, p=.06) and those who were less trusting of traditional cancer information sources (48% vs. 30%, p=.06).

Conclusions: Narrative forms of communication may increase the effectiveness of interventions to reduce cancer health disparities.

Practice implications: Narratives appear to have particular value in certain population sub-groups; identifying these groups and matching them to specific communication approaches may increase effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Middle Aged
  • Missouri
  • Narration*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Poverty
  • Videotape Recording*