Health promotion messages in entertainment media: Crime drama viewership and intentions to intervene in a sexual assault situation

Stacey J.T. Hust, Emily Garrigues Marett, Ming Lei, Hua Chang, Chunbo Ren, Anna Lazárová McNab, Paula M. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Popular crime dramas have tackled sensitive issues such as sexual assault with increasing frequency over the past 20 years. These popular programs increasingly demonstrate the emotional and physical effect of sexual assault on its victims, and in some instances they depict individuals being rewarded for intervening to prevent or stop an assault in progress. It is possible that this content could affect attitudes related to sexual assault prevention. However, no previous research has examined this possibility. In the fall 2008 semester, 508 undergraduates at a large northwestern university completed a questionnaire about media use and bystander intervention in a sexual assault situation. Results from hierarchical regressions lend support for the integrative model of behavioral prediction in that instrumentality, rape myth acceptance, perceived social norms, perceived efficacy related to intervening, and exposure to primetime crime dramas were associated with participants' intentions to intervene in a sexual assault. The results suggest that crime dramas may be a useful venue for prevention messages as exposure to crime dramas uniquely contributed to intentions to intervene in a sexual assault.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-123
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

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