Examining the Effects of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant on Adolescent Girls’ Sexual Health: The Implications of Character Affinity, Pregnancy Risk Factors, and Health Literacy on Message Effectiveness

Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, Hillary Pennell, Kyung Bo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Health communication strategies to decrease teen pregnancies include the employment of entertainment-education (E-E), which involves embedding health messages in an entertainment media vehicle that is relatable and attractive to the intended audience. MTV’s 16 and Pregnant is an example of such an effort as an E-E documentary-style reality show that aimed to reduce the U.S. teen pregnancy rate. A pretest–posttest experiment was conducted with 147 adolescent girls (ages 14–18) to investigate the effectiveness of 16 and Pregnant on beliefs, attitudes, and intentions to avoid teen pregnancy. Among participants who reported the lowest levels of identification, parasocial relationship, and homophily, viewing 16 and Pregnant resulted in more negative attitudes toward teen pregnancy. Among participants who reported the highest level of homophily, viewing 16 and Pregnant resulted in more positive attitudes toward teen pregnancy. Levels of pregnancy risk and health literacy were examined but were not significant moderators. Results are discussed in light of E-E theory and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-190
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Communication
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 28 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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