The Effectiveness of Narrative Versus Didactic Information Formats on Pregnant Women's Knowledge, Risk Perception, Self-Efficacy, and Information Seeking Related to Climate Change Health Risks

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 23;17(19):6969. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17196969.


Climate change is a global threat that poses significant risks to pregnant women and to their developing fetus and newborn. Educating pregnant women about the risks to their pregnancy may improve maternal and child health outcomes. Prior research suggests that presenting health information in narrative format can be more effective than a didactic format. Hence, the purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of two brief educational interventions in a diverse group of pregnant women (n = 151). Specifically, using a post-test only randomized experiment, we compared the effectiveness of brief information presented in a narrative format versus a didactic format; both information formats were also compared to a no information control group. Outcome measures included pregnant women's actual and perceived knowledge, risk perception, affective assessment, self-efficacy, intention to take protective behaviors, and subsequent information seeking behavior. As hypothesized, for all outcome measures, the narrative format was more effective than the didactic format. These results suggest the benefits of a narrative approach (versus a didactic approach) to educating pregnant women about the maternal and child health threats posed by climate change. This study adds to a growing literature on the effectiveness of narrative-based approaches to health communication.

Keywords: climate change; information-seeking; narrative communication; pregnant women; risk perception; self-efficacy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Climate Change*
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Perception
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / education
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy*