Interactive storytelling design to reduce weight-related stigma

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


Weight-related stigma’s have an negative health effect on the stigmatized. To reduce stigma, it is essential to create awareness and discuss the underlying beliefs and consequences. The problem is that people avoid talking and thinking about it. To solve this we designed a storytelling space by means of a game (‘Ball & Stick’) for community centres in vulnerable neighbourhoods. The game consists of a gameboard and a mobile application that verbally guides the players through the storytelling space by narrated stories and discussion tasks. During the game, the players are confronted with stigmatizing situations that people with obesity encounter. The stories used in the game were created by an iterative co-creative research-through-design method that alternated between collecting, reflecting upon, and adjusting stigma related stories. Study results at community centres (N = 22 in five groups) showed that all participants reported high or medium narrative transportation, (18) had personal similar experiences (19) indicated that the game raised their awareness, for (16) the game made it easier to talk about obesity and for (12) the game changed their attitude towards people with obesity. Our game demonstrated that interactive storytelling is a powerful tool to reach and motivate people to become aware and reflect upon and discuss stigmatizing behaviour. This is likely to be generalizable to other tabooand stigma-related subjects such as differences and inequality in gender, income, culture, immigration, religion, and mental health. Follow-up research is needed to set the next step from stigma awareness and discussion towards a behavioural change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event37th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society - Bremen, Germany
Duration: 4 Sept 20238 Sept 2023


Conference37th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society


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