Published In

International Journal of Communication

Document Type


Publication Date



Communication, Interactive Narrative


To improve economic opportunity in Cambodia, we used social cognitive theory to develop gamified, interactive narratives using mobile phones. Participants guided their chosen character toward their “dream job” goal while encountering a series of barriers along the way. Participants (N = 1,625) were randomly assigned to one of four message frequency experimental conditions: a no-play control condition or playing the interactive narrative one, two, or five times. Compared with not playing the interactive narrative (control), those who played showed higher perceived self-efficacy, response efficacy, and behavioral intentions. Playing more times was associated with less attentional focus and enjoyment, but greater narrative understanding and behavioral intentions. These results support the promise of interactive technology using basic mobile phones for social and behavioral change. Moreover, this study addresses the important question of how much exposure to an intervention is necessary to affect change.


Copyright © 2021 (Lauren B. Frank, Paul Sparks, Sheila T. Murphy, Lizzie Goodfriend, and Paul Falzone). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd). Available at

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Communication Commons