Enny Das

Health Narratives



Enny Das


Radboud University


Enny has a background in social psychology and communication science. She obtained her PhD in social psychology at Utrecht University (2001) with the dissertation ‘How fear appeals work: Motivational biases in the processing of fear-arousing health communications’. She worked for 10 years at the department of Communication Science of VU University Amsterdam before making the move to Radboud University Nijmegen, where she currently holds a chair in communication and persuasion.

Enny has obtained several national and international research grants (NWO; Pink Ribbon; EU KP7) in the domains of persuasion and health communication, and supervises projects on patient information of side effects of medical treatment, online health forums, outbreak communication, and logo design. She currently teaches courses in fundamental communication research; communication, behavior, and persuasion; and academic skills.


Enny’s research expertise lies in the domains of health communication and persuasion. Her research examines the origins of individuals’ reluctance to accept risk information, and strategies to promote effective health communication. Projects concern for example the development of effective risk-communication strategies to increase Hepatitis B vaccination for homosexual men; the effects of self-affirmation and a positive mood on the processing of threatening health information; communication of HPV vaccination among teenage girls; and strategies to decrease resistance to health information among hardcore smokers.

Enny also examines – unconscious – side effects of medical information. For example, in a recent project it was found that informing patients about side effects of medical treatment not only increase complaint reporting, but also actual occurrence of these side effects. In addition, Enny is interested in the role of the media in communicating health. She examines how the media portrayed the H1N1 epidemic across Europe; how patients communicate online; and when online health forums contribute to patients’ wellbeing.


Risk; health communication; fear; defensive processing; advertising; media.

Key publications

Das, E., Bushman, B. J., Bezemer, M. D., Kerkhof, P., & Vermeulen, I. E. (2009). How terrorism news reports increase prejudice against outgroups: A terror management account. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 453-459.

Das, E., de Wit, J.B.F, & Stroebe, W. (2003). Fear appeals motivate acceptance of recommendations: Evidence for a positive bias in the processing of persuasive messages. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 650-664.

Das, E., & Fennis, B. M. (2008). In the mood to face the facts: When a positive mood increases systematic processing of self-threatening messages. Motivation and Emotion, 32, 221-230.

De Wit, J. B. F., Vet, R., & Das, E. (2008). What works best: Objective statistics or a personal testimonial? An assessment of the persuasive effects of different types of message evidence on risk perception. Health Psychology, 27, 110-115.

Schagen, S. B., & Das, E., & Vermeulen, IE (2012). Information about cognitive problems contributes to cognitive problems in cancer patients. Psycho-Oncology, 21(10), 1132-1135.