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Evaluating audience impact of selected health messages in TV storylines

Vicki Beck, MS1, William E. Pollard, PhD2, Grace Huang, MPH1, Thomas W. Valente, PhD3, and Janice Hsu3. (1) Hollywood, Health & Society Program, USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, 8383 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 650, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, 323-782-3315, vbeck@usc.edu, (2) Office of Communication, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd., N.E, Mail Stop D42, Atlanta, GA 30333, (3) Keck School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 1000 South Fremont, Unit 8, Room 5133, Alhambra, CA 91803

CDC and USC analysis of data (Beck and Pollard) from the national Healthstyles Survey conducted by Porter Novelli has shown a consistent trend over three years (1999 to 2001) that African American and Hispanic TV viewers report they learn, discuss and take actions more frequently than general viewers after hearing about health topics in TV storylines. Banduraís Social Learning Theory also suggests that the Entertainment Education strategy of embedding health messages into storylines of popular TV programs may influence modeling of health promotion behavior.

Previous analyses of TV viewing habits based on HealthStyles data has been self-reported, for behavior and learning, and there remains a need to examine the impact of specific TV health content on corresponding knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors associated with the health topic. This presentation will report on CDC-USC analysis of 2003 HealthStyles data based on a cross-examination of Porter Novelliís ConsumerStyles with HealthStyles and YouthStyles. Specific health behaviors will be compared between respondents who were exposed to selected TV health storylines and those who were not exposed. Health storylines were chosen from the Spring 2003 TV viewing season across the most popular TV shows among general, Hispanic and African American audiences (based on Nielsen Audience Research). Health topics that were investigated include: smoking and cancer, carbon monoxide poisoning, seat-belt use, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and teen pregnancy.

Implications from findings will contribute to strategic outreach efforts to the television industry, and to future studies examining the impact of TV health content on audiences.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Promotion, Media

Related Web page: www.entertainment.usc.edu

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
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.

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