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Promoting Health in the Entertainment Format?

Promoting Health in the Entertainment Format?

Health topics gain in significance in teenage years: physical and psychic changes come about and the first experiences are made with narcotics. Young people are often difficult to reach with health-promoting or preventative messages, as they seek health information for themselves only comparatively rarely – unless they are directly or indirectly affected by a topic. Communication strategies specific to target groups are needed, which take account of the interest in the topic, the need for information as well as habits of media use. In a qualitative study, we examined to what extent entertainment-education offers for health promotion are suitable.

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Project Description

How Minors Perceive and Evaluate Health-Related Messages in TV Entertainment

In the USA, Entertainment-Education was already developed at the end of the 1960’s as a concept, which exploited the attractiveness of entertainment offerings, in order to sensitise difficult-to-access target groups to topics related to health, among other things. To do this, a message promoting health and integrated into an attractive offering in the media or a specialised offer is deliberately developed on the basis of the entertainment-education concept. Various studies testify to the concept’s effectiveness to the extent that it could be shown that these pedagogically motivated offers could contribute to sensitising people to the topics and in a few cases to a change in attitude or behaviour as well. At the same time, however, comparatively little attention was paid to the placing of specifically directed media messages in a heterogeneous, partially contradictory programme environment (for example, advertising for alcohol, sweets [candy] etc.) and also to the competition with other socialising influences.

In the context of a qualitative study, the question was, therefore, investigated as to whether and in what way young people do notice health-related messages at all in fictional programmes in the context of their general use of the media and how they evaluate them. The results show that health-related fictional offers certainly leave traces and can contribute to sensitising people to health-related topics, but they also point to the limits of the entertainment-education initiative.

Project Information


Duration: 2006-2008

Involved persons

Dr. Claudia Lampert

Third party

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Dr. Claudia Lampert
Senior Researcher Media Socialisation & Health Communication

Dr. Claudia Lampert

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 92
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 77

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