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Women Health. 2015;55(4):447-66. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2015.1022690. Epub 2015 Mar 20.

Keeping it Natural: Does Persuasive Magazine Content Have an Effect on Young Women's Intentions for Birth?

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a Jean Hailes Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine , Monash University , Melbourne , Victoria , Australia.


Information in the popular media tends to be biased toward promoting the benefits of medicalized birth for low-risk pregnancies. We aimed to assess the effect of communicating the benefits of non-medicalized birth in magazine articles on women's birth intentions and to identify the mechanisms by which social communication messages affected women's intentions for birth. A convenience sample of 180 nulliparous Australian women aged 18-35 years were randomly exposed to a magazine article endorsing non-medicalized birth (using either celebrity or non-celebrity endorsement) or organic eating (control) throughout June-July 2011. Magazine articles that endorsed non-medicalized birth targeted perceived risk of birth, expectations for labor and birth, and attitudes toward birth. These variables and intention for birth were assessed by self-report before and after exposure. Exposure to a magazine article that endorsed non-medicalized birth significantly reduced women's intentions for a medicalized birth, regardless of whether the endorsement was by celebrities or non-celebrities. Changes in perceived risk of birth mediated the effect of magazine article exposure on women's intentions for a medicalized birth. Persuasive communication that endorses non-medicalized birth could be delivered at the population level and may reduce women's intentions for a medicalized birth.


celebrities; childbirth; intention; intervention; magazines; media; public health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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