Helena Bilandzic

Health Narratives


Helena Bilandzic

Augsburg University

Department of Media, Knowledge and Communication


Helena has a background in communication science, media law and French literature. She earned her PhD from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich) in 2003 with a thesis on television program selection, and her habilitation degree from the University of Erfurt with work on the differential processes of media effects in 2009.

Helena Bilandzic has taught at universities in Munich, Erfurt, Ilmenau, Berlin, Hamburg and Friedrichshafen. She was a visiting scholar at the Washington State University and the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2010, Helena is a professor of Communication with special focus on Media Effects and Processes at the Department of Media, Knowledge and Communication at the Augsburg University.

Helena has obtained two grants from the German Research Foundation in the field of narrative persuasion, and has participated in a successful grant proposal for a European COST Action. She serves on several editorial boards for scholarly journals and is an elected member of the review board for Social Sciences of the German Research Foundation. 
Helena teaches classes in media processes and effects, health and environmental communication as well as methodology and methods.


Helena’s research expertise is located in the field of narrative experience and persuasion. Helena Bilandzic investigates the cognitive and emotional processes that occur when people make sense of a narrative; specifically, she is interested in the mechanisms of narrative persuasion. Her research mostly focuses on entertainment narratives, for example films, series or books. She explores how health images and health information is conveyed through such stories, and what functional and dysfunctional consequences entertainment narratives may have. She is also interested in the attitudes towards illnesses and a possible stigmatization of the patients through media narratives.


Narrative; narrative engagement; health communication; emotional processing

Key publications

Bilandzic, H., & Busselle, R. W. (2012). Narrative persuasion. In J. P. Dillard & L. Shen (Eds.), The Sage handbook of persuasion. Developments in theory and practice (pp. 200-219). Los Angeles, London: Sage.

Bilandzic, H., & Busselle, R. W. (2012). A narrative perspective on genre-specific cultivation. In M. Morgan, J. Shanahan & N. Signorielli (Eds.), The cultivation differential (pp. 261-285). New York: Peter Lang.

Busselle, R. W., & Bilandzic, H. (2012). Cultivation and the perceived realism of stories. In M. Morgan, J. Shanahan & N. Signorielli (Eds.), The cultivation differential (pp. 168-186). New York:Peter Lang.

Bilandzic, H. & Busselle, R. (2011): Enjoyment of films as a function of narrative experience, perceived realism and transportability. Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research, 36, 29-50.

Busselle, R. & Bilandzic, H. (2009). Measuring narrative engagement. Media Psychology, 12, 321-347.

Bilandzic, H. & Busselle, R. (2008): Transportation and transportability in the cultivation of genre-consistent beliefs and attitudes. Journal of Communication, 58, 508-529.

Busselle, R. & Bilandzic, H. (2008). Fictionality and perceived realism in experiencing stories: A model of narrative comprehension and engagement. Communication Theory, 18, 255-280.