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This article is the author's final published version in Journal of Communication in Healthcare, Volume 14, Issue 2, Pages 102 - 104.

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Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There has been a marked increase in the literature in recent years about social norms, what they are, and how to measure them. New theoretical connections indicate specific significance for those working with global health programs that use narrative interventions, such as mass, print, and community media. The literature is dense, however. Different terms describe similar constructs, and the sheer number of new articles and emerging academic frameworks can be overwhelming. In this letter, we briefly summarize current social norms and narrative theorizing and provide examples of global programs that have effectively applied these theories. In so doing, we hope to further the conversation on what differentiates narrative programs designed to shift social norms, as compared to non-narrative programs and/or programs that seek to influence knowledge, attitudes, and practices alone. We conclude with implications for practitioners designing and implementing global health programs that target social norms with narratives.

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