Using narrative messages to improve parents' experience of learning that a child has overweight

Fiona Gillison, Elisabeth Grey, Hannah McConnell, Simon Sebire

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Providing feedback to parents that their child is overweight often elicits negative reactance.
To investigate the acceptability and feasibility of providing theoretically-informed narrative messages to reduce negative reactance, alongside National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) feedback informing parents when their child is overweight.
A mixed-methods design: interviews with parents of primary school-aged children explored responses to the narratives; a randomised trial examined the feasibility, acceptability and promise of enclosing narratives with NCMP feedback.
Interview participants found the narratives acceptable and indicated they could help lessen negative reactance. Pilot study data suggested 65% of parents could identify with the characters, with evidence of elaboration (applying the story to one’s own situation) evident in 65% of those reading the accounts.
Although the findings are limited by the low response rates typical in this population, narrative messages were acceptable to parents, feasible to deliver and show promise.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Child Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021


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