Promoting national values for social change: Evaluating the Heartlines life orientation campaign in South Africa
Amy K. Farthing-Chesser, Regent University, United States
Regent University . Awarded
Introduction. The current dissertation research describes the purpose and relevance of Entertainment Education (EE) as a strategy to educate and promote health-related behavior change. The intervention consists of the use of media utilization to educate and inform student audiences to motivate them toward positive health behaviors while they are engaged in an entertainment activity. The Heartlines campaign incorporated curriculum for learners grades 10 and 11 enrolled in public schools in South Africa. The purpose of this research was to assess: (1) participant demographics, (2) exposure to media and the Heartlines EE campaign, and (3) current knowledge, beliefs, intentions and self-efficacy of value-based topics related to health and risky behaviors which may impact the spread of HIV/AIDS. In addition, recall measures toward the overall Heartlines campaign were recorded.
Methods. A quasi-experimental, repeated measures survey design was used to assess the impact of the Life Orientation curriculum. There were three phases to the study which included the pre-test survey (a baseline measure of pre-intervention responses), the intervention (an eight-week curriculum administered during the Life Orientation class period), and the post-test survey (designated for the session following the completion of the curriculum intervention). Data were analyzed at group level only. There were 53 questions for grade 10 pre-test survey (N=891) and 67 questions on the post-test survey (N=594). Similarly, there were 50 questions for the pre-test survey (N=629) and 58 questions on the post-test survey for grade 11 (N=341).
Descriptive frequencies were run for each categorical variable to describe the participant population, while measures of central tendency were calculated for continuous variables. The effect of the EE intervention on participant outcomes were assessed using student's t test for independent samples (pre/post). To reduce the potential for Type I error, alpha was set at .05.
Results. The results indicated learners had awareness of the overall Heartlines campaign initiative. For grade 10, gender representation was 54% males, majority of the participants (72%) were 15 or 16 years of age and approximately 54% percent of the participants were Black. The majority (31%) of participants reported speaking English isiZulu language in the household, followed by isiZulu (24%) and Afrikaans (12%). Grade 11 learners included 56% males, the majority of the participants (81.9%) were 16 to 18 years of age and approximately 60% of the participants were Black. The majority (25% respectively) of participants reported speaking isiZulu and English language in the household, followed by Afrikaans (17%). Participating South African learners consistently identified with five main characters of the films. Viewing the films and curriculum increased awareness and knowledge about values for learners in both grades. Of the twenty-five items included on the pre- and post-surveys assessing the values promoted through the curriculum, almost 50% of items indicated significant increase. Learners also indicated intention through qualitative responses toward behavior change including the values espoused by characters in the films and supported by the curriculum.
Conclusions. This research extended the understanding of the impact of EE at a national level for health subjects such as HIV/AIDS and provided support for continued use of value-based strategies. This EE campaign supports previous study findings and continues to demonstrate successful results for behavioral change in health communication research. This innovative educational model, coupling film and curriculum, intended to identify and support core beliefs which affect behaviors and decision-making, has shown positive affects. This evaluation supports the need for continued research of EE interventions to affect teens. Future studies in different geographic locations could examine external variables that investigate the societal context of the intervention (i.e. social norms, other messages promoting the values to this age group, peer influence, campaigns targeting youth to decrease rates of HIV/AIDS, etc.). Such factors continue to affect teen learners. Therefore it is important to understand which effects are attributable to the films and curriculum and which to socio-cultural factors.
Farthing-Chesser, A.K. Promoting national values for social change: Evaluating the Heartlines life orientation campaign in South Africa. Ph.D. thesis, Regent University.
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