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J Health Commun. 2007 Jul-Aug;12(5):455-69.

Does entertainment-education work with Latinos in the United States? Identification and the effects of a telenovela breast cancer storyline.

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  • 1Department of Communication, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-4000, USA.


This article examines the proposition that a popular form of entertainment, the telenovela, can educate Spanish-speaking viewers in the United States if accurate health information is presented in a dramatic, narrative format. Health professionals consulted on a breast cancer storyline in a Spanish-language telenovela, Ladrón de Corazones, and the impact on viewers' knowledge and behavioral intentions were assessed using three methods. First, an analysis of call attempts to 1-800-4-CANCER demonstrated a significant increase in calls when a PSA featuring the number aired during the program. Second, a nationwide telephone survey indicated that viewers, especially those who identify with Spanish-language television characters, gained specific knowledge from viewing the story and that male viewers were significantly more likely to recommend that women have a mammogram. Third, these trends were confirmed and further explored using focus groups of Ladrón viewers. Implications for educating viewers using dramatic serials in the United States are discussed.

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