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TV drama can be more persuasive than news program, study finds
Date:2/9/2010

pisode, high-school students Ryan and Theresa faced the difficult consequences of an unintended pregnancy.

The programs were pre-tested with other students, who agreed that they both had the same main message concerning the difficulties of teen pregnancy.

Before watching the programs, participants completed questionnaires concerning how often they used some form of birth control if they were sexually active, and their intentions to use birth control over the next year.

Immediately after viewing the programs, participants filled out questionnaires concerning how much they were emotionally involved in the program, how much they identified with the characters, and other issues concerning their response to the programs they viewed.

Two weeks later, they were contacted again and asked about their intentions to use birth control.

The researchers found that male and females had different responses to the programs.

Watching the news-format program had no effect on men's safe-sex intentions two weeks later.

But two weeks after watching The OC, men said they were actually less likely to follow birth control practices than they did before they viewed the program. That was probably because men reported they didn't like the program as much as women did, and didn't identify with the characters, Moyer-Gus said.

Women had a different reaction to the programs. The news-format program had no effect on their intentions to use birth control. But those who watched The OC episode were more likely to report in two weeks that they planned on taking steps to prevent pregnancy.

The findings revealed some of the underlying mechanisms that made the TV drama persuasive to many women viewers.

Findings showed that viewers who said they identified with the two main characters in The OC episode also felt, when contacted two weeks later, that they were more vulnerable to an unplanned pregnancy. That, in turn, l
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Contact: Emily Moyer-Gus
Moyer-Guse.1@osu.edu
614-247-7724
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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