5284.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 4:50 PM

Abstract #13166

Audience analysis research for developing entertainment-education outreach: Soap opera audiences and health information

William E. Pollard, PhD and Vicki Beck, MS. Office of Communication, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd., N.E, Mail Stop D42, Atlanta, GA 30333, (404) 639-4239, bdp4@cdc.gov

In this presentation we review television viewing and information-seeking habits of audiences that the CDC targets for health communication campaigns. Data show that various age groups, education and income levels, and minority groups most at risk for preventable disease are among those with the highest rates of daytime drama or soap opera viewing. Furthermore, the data show that many regular viewers of soap operas report learning about health from soap operas, and many report taking some action as a result. We describe these results and discuss the implications for outreach efforts with soap opera writers and producers. More specifically, we review the analysis of data from the 1999 Healthstyles survey, which included a number of items on soap opera viewing and sources of heath information The Healthstyles survey is a national consumer mail panel survey concerning health characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors conducted for Porter Novelli, Inc. The findings suggest T.V. soap operas can serve a critical health education service by providing accurate, timely information about disease, injury and disability in their storylines for the more than 38 million people who watch daytime dramas. When even a small percentage of viewers takes action as the result of a T.V. soap opera, to protect or improve their own health or the health of someone they know, millions of people and their families can benefit.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to: (1) describe how formative audience research contributes to entertainment-education program development, and (2) articulate why soap operas are an effective channel for educating audiences at risk for disease, injury, and disability

Keywords: Media, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA