Drama Theory and Entertainment Education: Exploring the Effects of a Radio Drama on Behavioral Intentions to Limit HIV Transmission in Ethiopia

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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.

Keywords: Entertainment Education; HIV/AIDS; Identification

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637750701393048

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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