Anniek Boeijinga

Health Narratives



Anniek Boeijinga

PhD student

Radboud University


Anniek Boeijinga completed the Bachelor Language & Communication and the Research Master Rhetoric, Argumentation theory & Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. Her bachelor thesis –awarded with the TAR thesis prize in 2009– focused on the development of a test to assess argumentative skills among high school students. In her master thesis, Anniek combined insights from pragma-dialectics and social psychology. Using leaflets on breast cancer screening as an illustrative example, she explained why ‘good’ arguments in health communication are sometimes not effective and why health communication sometimes fails.

During her studies, Anniek taught classes in Communication & Social Influence at the UvA and worked as an assistant for Prof. dr. Frans van Eemeren. From 2009 to 2010 she was junior consultant at Tabula Rasa, where she worked on different projects, ranging from business strategies to public health interventions.

In December 2012, Anniek joined the department of Business Communication Studies/Centre for Language Studies at the Radboud University and started working on the PhD project “Prevention and Health Regulation Behaviour by Understandable Personal Narratives”.


Within her Research Master, Anniek specialized in health communication. The research domain of behavioural change, as well as issues related to health promotion, have always had her particular interest. These interests match perfectly with her current PhD project, which aims to explore to what extent –and how– a narrative communication intervention leads to improved health regulation by workers with a lower social-economic status (SES).

The intervention focuses specifically on workers in the transport sector, as the nature of the work, the working environment, and the individual characteristics of these workers pose great challenges for health promotion activities. In contrast to present health promotion activities, the intervention will address post-intentional factors (action and coping planning) and will be presented in a narrative format. Based on previous studies, this inventive combination of content and genre holds great promise to increase the effectiveness of health promotion materials among workers with a lower SES.

The project (funded by ZoNMw) is conducted in close cooperation with the occupational health and safety organisation 365.


health communication, narratives, workplace health promotion, transport sector, social-economic status / health literacy.

Selected publications