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Testing Restorative Narratives in a College Student Resilience Project

Abstract

A new online program, The Student Resilience Project (https://strong.fsu.edu), explores how institutions can effectively communicate health and resilience information to students. We investigated one key element of a pilot version of this program, specifically its use of video-based “restorative narratives,” which depict college students overcoming adversity using institutional resources. We proposed a theoretical model, which is supported by data from a survey completed by undergraduate students (n = 229) who viewed the videos. Results suggest that perceptions of restorative narratives can directly predict students’ behavioral intentions, including their intention to seek resources and to share content with other students. Perceptions of restorative narratives also influenced behavioral intentions indirectly via their influence on meaningful affect and outcome expectations, including the belief that advice and resources would help them and others. Based on the model, we offer evidence-based suggestions for web-based prevention programs.

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Notes

  1. The broad measure of affect here was employed mainly due to the need for brevity in measuring emotional responses to the messages (in order to limit participant fatigue and increase questionnaire completion rates) and to replicate the measure used in a previous study in order to facilitate comparison of effects across studies in this newer area of inquiry (restorative narrative). There is some debate about the validity of using a broader measure of an affective feeling state such as this one vs. using multi-item measures of discrete emotions (e.g., four-item measures of happiness, three-item measures of hope) when assessing responses to mediated messages. However, many scholars recognize the human tendency to categorize events or stimuli broadly along a continuum of negative to positive valence and suggest that such categorization can generally indicate a desire to avoid or approach that stimulus (Bolls, 2010), such as returning to a web site.

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Correspondence to Karen Oehme.

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Ray, E.C., Arpan, L., Oehme, K. et al. Testing Restorative Narratives in a College Student Resilience Project. Innov High Educ 44, 267–282 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-019-9464-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-019-9464-4

Keywords

  • Resilience
  • Online training
  • Restorative narratives
  • Student wellbeing