The need for formative research in designing mass media health-education messages is widely accepted; however, distinct methodologies for developing such messages are less well documented. This article describes a culture-centered approach for developing messages to promote sexual risk reduction in urban African American adolescents. The method uses qualitative formative research to identify "competing narratives" that support healthy behavior despite the dominance of messages that favor risk-taking behavior. The method is illustrated using qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews with 124 adolescents. Analysis focuses on two barriers to sexual risk reduction: (a) social pressure for early initiation of sexual intercourse and (b) perceptions that condoms reduce sexual pleasure. We demonstrate how competing narratives identified in the analysis can be featured in radio and television messages advocating healthy behavior by modeling risk-reducing negotiation skills.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health Policy
- Health(social science)