From Watching to Calling: Linking Variations in an Entertainment-Education Storyline with Calls to a Health Hotline

Sapna Suresh*, Stefanie Z. Demetriades, Nathan Walter, Jorge A. Montoya, Aaron Plant, Kriss Barker, Cecilia Orvañanos, Jessica Carranza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Substantial gaps exist in the theoretical conceptualization and practical development of entertainment-education, as studies often fail to account for the ways in which intrinsic message characteristics influence subsequent behavior. These gaps served as the impetus for an international collaborative project that evaluated Vencer el Miedo (“Overcome the Fear”), a Spanish-language program that aired in Mexico from January to March 2020. The telenovela was produced with the aim of improving sexual and reproductive health knowledge and behaviors by modeling effective ways to discuss and negotiate safer sex practices. The show was accompanied by a telephone hotline called OrientaSEX operated by professional counselors from MEXFAM, Planned Parenthood’s Mexican affiliate. Utilizing an interrupted time series analysis of calls made to OrientaSEX (N = 11,878) and focusing on changes in the volume of calls and the identity of callers following key moments in the storyline, the findings support the central role played by transitional characters and their similarity to audience members. Implications of these results for the theory and practice of entertainment-education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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