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Evaluation of first-person storytelling on changing health-related attitudes, knowledge, behaviors, and outcomes: A scoping review.



First-person storytelling (FPS) has the potential to engage patients in changing behavior differently than didactic education. We assessed the prevalence of FPS in health education interventions; whether published FPS research has shown improvements in attitudinal, knowledge, behavioral, or clinical outcomes; and whether randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including FPS have shown more effectiveness than non-FPS interventions.


A scoping review of FPS studies published before October 2019 in five medical databases was conducted.


22 out of 10,363 identified studies met eligibility criteria. FPS has been studied primarily in cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. Of the 12 RCTs, compared to controls, patients receiving FPS interventions improved attitudes (N = 6 studies) and knowledge (N = 1), improved health behaviors like quitting smoking (N = 6), and improved clinical outcomes like lowering A1C levels (N = 3). Of the 10 non-RCT studies, compared to baseline assessments, patients who received FPS interventions had improved knowledge (N = 1), attitudes (N = 3), clinical outcomes (N = 4), and improved health behaviors (N = 7).


While rarely used, FPS interventions can improve patient health attitudes and outcomes. Future research should expand FPS to new health areas and determine best practices for developing FPS interventions.

Practice implications

FPS may be particularly effective with low income patients and racial/ethnic minorities.

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