Clementson, D. E., & Xie, T. (Grady PhD student) (2020, Nov.). Narrative storytelling and anger in crisis communication. Paper to be presented at the 106th National Communication Association conference, Public Relations division, Indianapolis, IN.
Abstract: This paper reports a test and extension of the model posited by Heath’s (2004) theory of crisis response narratives, in which the public manifests identification with a spokesperson who tells ethical narratives rather than spinning stories. The effect is hypothesized as being mediated through the public perceiving trustworthiness of, and positive attitudes toward, the spokesperson. An experiment is reported (N = 262) with a televised news interview featuring a spokesperson representing a scandalized company, in which the messaging varies in terms of narratives. The study finds support for the theoretical model as originally specified. In addition, the model is extended to serial and parallel multiple mediation, finding that the effect is processed through the public’s anger.