Drama theory and entertainment education: Exploring the effects of a radio drama on behavioral intentions to limit HIV transmission in ethiopia

Rachel A. Smith, Edward Downs, Kim Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated a model of entertainment education that combined drama theory (Kincaid, 2002) and social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) and tested it in a field study of a government-sponsored health campaign in Ethiopia. Specifically, we explored if the relationships between reported exposure to the Journey of Life radio drama and intentions to practice at least one behavior to prevent HIV transmission (abstinence, monogamy, or condom use) were mediated by emotional involvement, character identification, and perceived efficacy. As listeners (n=126) reported listening to more episodes of the radio serial drama, they identified more with the female protagonist and felt more emotionally involved in the drama. In turn, they reported stronger perceptions of personal efficacy in HIV prevention behaviors, and consequently, reported stronger intentions to practice at least one prevention behavior. Additionally, identification with another character, one who contracts HIV due to noncompliance with these behaviors, correlated positively with stronger behavioral intentions. The results of this study indicate that both drama theory and social cognitive theory explain behavioral intentions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-153
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Monographs
Volume74
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Rachel A. Smith (PhD, Michigan State University) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences at Pennsylvania State University. Edward Downs (MA, Michigan State University) is a doctoral student in the College of Communications at Pennsylvania State University. Kim Witte (PhD, University of California) is an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University. Correspondence to: Edward Downs, College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University, 115 Carnegie Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA. E-mail: epd121@psu.edu. This study was funded with primary support from the United States Agency for International Development under the Population Communication Services III Cooperative Agreement No. DPE-3052-A-00-0014-00 based at Johns Hopkins/ Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs. The authors would like to thank Dr Sillars and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments during the review process.

Keywords

  • Entertainment education
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Identification

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