Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Juntunen, Jacob


The aim of this dissertation is to examine the effects of narrative conversational storytelling on affective empathy and relational bonding. This correlational-comparative quantitative research study intends to correlate variations of structured storytelling activity scenarios with affective empathy and self-reports of relational bonding. The overall proposed approach to determine this correlation or disassociation is to conduct pre- and post- intervention empathy testing as well as a relational bonding scale survey. The intervention was a series of narrative conversational storytelling activities that ranged from face-to-face structured exchange, written and read structured exchange, and no structured exchange. This study consisted of 12 adult participants, ranging in age, gender, and cultural background. These participants were divided evenly between scenarios, each scenario consisting of four participants. Study result data was analyzed to reveal that those who participated in the structured storytelling activity, face-to-face, scored the greatest average increase in affective empathy and had the most growth in perceived relational bonding with their intervention partners. These findings imply that a structured storytelling activity with an active perspective-taking component, in person, may be used as a tool for the improvement of affective empathy and relational bonding.




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