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Decisions, Decisions: Developing Interactive Fiction for Health Communication

Londino, Gina Rose (2011) Decisions, Decisions: Developing Interactive Fiction for Health Communication. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Young female undergraduate students frequently engage in sexual activity, often without using condoms. Such risky behavior poses serious physical health risks to these women, their current and future partners, and possibly their children. Consequences of unsafe sex like STIs and unplanned pregnancy can further have serious financial and psychological implications. Health communication campaigns that impart sexual health information and improve attitudes toward safer sex offer a promising means of addressing these serious public health issues. A strategic health communication effort will comprise solid theoretical bases, carefully designed program plans, and ample community involvement to create effective and appealing messages and materials.The Adventures in... project began when four graduate students created a small, vibrant interactive fiction story booklet as a novel means of sexual health outreach for female undergraduates. Initially part of the final assignment for a Health Communication class, the booklet interested several stakeholders at the University of Pittsburgh who gave the graduate students (the project team) opportunity to adapt the item and circulate it in the undergraduate population. Since adapting the booklet to fit cultural, institutional, and other considerations, the Adventures in... project has distributed copies of the item at several student events and received positive initial feedback from members of the target audience. Several challenges arose through the course of the project that delayed its development and limited its outreach, some of which may have been prevented through more careful planning. However, the project team has continued to adapt the message and material to serve the needs of the target population.Interactive fiction as health pedagogy appears to have strong theoretical premise and promise as a form of health communication. This project has public health significance because entertaining communication efforts that promote sexual health are necessary to address young adults' unsafe sex practices. The Adventures in... project consequently must continue its development and outreach efforts. Foremost, it should create more stories on other relevant health topics, expand its reach to other segments of the student population and to other college campuses, and adopt the increasingly popular and accessible online format.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Londino, Gina
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberTrauth, Jeanettetrauth@pitt.eduTRAUTH
Committee MemberMartinson, Jeremyjmartins@pitt.eduJMARTINS
Committee MemberSoska, Tracytsssw@pitt.eduTSSSW
Date: 29 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 30 March 2011
Approval Date: 29 June 2011
Submission Date: 4 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: health communication; interactive fiction; undergraduate sexual health
Other ID:, etd-04042011-220139
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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