247458 Preventing Cancer in Primetime: Using Entertainment Programming to Reach Underserved and Less Acculturated Audiences

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:30 PM

Sheila Murphy, PhD , Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Heather J. Hether, PhD , Department of Communication, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
Sandra de Castro Buffington, BS, MPH , USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, Hollywood, Health & Society, Beverly Hills, CA
Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD, MPH , Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Lauren B. Frank, MHS, PhD , Annenberg School for Communication, Portland State University, Los Angeles, CA
Objective: This study examines the potential for an entertainment program to impact cancer-related knowledge and behavior in at risk Hispanic populations. Additionally, this study sought to uncover which theoretical construct — involvement with a specific character or involvement with the narrative more generally (Green and Brock's transportation) — best predicted impact. Methods: Using a cross-sectional pretest/posttest survey design, we measured the impact of a cervical cancer storyline on 149 viewers of El Clon, a popular Spanish language telenovela that aired in Summer 2010. The fictional character of Dora, a woman in her late 40s, experiences worrisome symptoms including pain and irregular vaginal bleeding. As the story unfolds viewers were exposed to a number of key messages related to cervical cancer and the importance of screening. Results: Pretest/posttest comparisons revealed significant gains in both cervical cancer-related knowledge and behavior. The best predictor of increased knowledge and behavior (interpersonal discussion, information seeking, planning to have a pap test) was feeling “transported” or highly involved with the narrative. Identifying with Dora (measured by liking, similarity and “knowing” the character) predicted more interpersonal discussion and information seeking. Importantly, less acculturated viewers who are at higher risk for cervical cancer were more likely to identify with Dora. Conclusions: Although further research is needed to generalize to other underserved populations, these findings encourage the use of popular entertainment media to provide Latina audiences with vital cancer prevention information.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss if narrative format health information on cervical cancer was an effective tool to transform the knowledge and attitudes of Hispanic women 2. Explain the results from the cross-sectional pretest/posttest survey design that was conducted to test the narrative format health information

Keywords: Cervical Cancer, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I am a Professor at the Annenberg School of Communication and the PI on 2 NCI grants on cervical cancer.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.