Examples of positive change in public behavior after seeing it on Film or TV?
January 24, 2012 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Examples of public health manipulation?

First, a little background- I'm writing a paper in my Infectious Disease class regarding the recent implementation in California requiring that in order to get a permit to shoot, an adult film company must require use of condoms.

I have rates of infection in the industry, i have those rates vs non industry men/women and other supportive data to establish the background on why the edict became necessary.

What comes next is to show how this implementation will not only reduce rates within the industry, but that it will also affect the public's image of condom use itself and affect condom usage, thus reducing HIV rates among the US population.

This is where it gets tricky. To show potential change I need to make examples of similar changes made and their statistics. One example is the ban on smoking in films. I can show how the ban did (or did not) affect public perception, smoking rates, cigarette sales, etc.

What other examples can I use to explain how HIV rates will change?
posted by MansRiot to Society & Culture (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should mention that the point of the paper itself is to talk about the future, or the potential rates in a human disease, due to some kind of social/ecologic change. Some students might talk about how new/increased flooding will broaden vector ranges, thus increasing the related rates of infection of the given disease. Another might use the 'overuse of antibiotics' topic.

One thing the professor is always harping about is how our respect for HIV has waned in recent years, due to the 'lack of fear' we have, now that it's gone from mostly a deadly disease, to a mostly manageable chronic disease. I think the Californian edict is a good move, thus my interest in this topic, regardless of it's difficulty.
posted by MansRiot at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2012

Best answer: I suggest just doing a pubmed or google scholar search on appropriate terms. For example, here's the results for Health Promotion + Television + Persuasive Communication. Some of it is not exactly what you're looking for, but presumably some is, and you can refine or revise to seek out your examples.
posted by gubenuj at 11:35 AM on January 24, 2012

Ban on smoking in public establishments, civic buildings, community areas?

Ban on soda / candy in public schools?
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:36 AM on January 24, 2012

Ban on advertising for cigarettes/alcohol in some media.

Advertising unhealthy foods to children (and the subsequent attempts to stop this).

Is this the right kind of stuff? I may be way off base.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:37 AM on January 24, 2012

It might be too far afield to be a good example (and is an example in the negative), but the controversy about MMR being thought to be related to autism (a notion promoted by some famous people) has been considered responsible for a decrease in immunization rates and a subsequent increase in vaccine-preventable diseases.
posted by pantarei70 at 11:39 AM on January 24, 2012

Response by poster: Persuasive communication- exactly the kind of stuff I'm looking for, thanks Gubenuj.

Ban on soda/candy is a great example!

Yes OnTheLastCastle : ) anything that will help me build a correlation so that i might project how HIV rates in the US population will change.
posted by MansRiot at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2012

MMR = The Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine....oops
posted by pantarei70 at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2012

Best answer: seat belt laws
cell phone laws and data on crash counts after cell phone outages (blackberry outage in the middle east supposedly reduced crash rates for the day or two)
bicycle helmet laws (though this is a mine field)
chicken pox vaccination
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:41 AM on January 24, 2012

Response by poster: MMR was actually discussed in class for exactly that reason and is def thinking outside the box!

Cell phone laws, excellent!
posted by MansRiot at 11:47 AM on January 24, 2012

Best answer: "Back to Sleep" halved the incidence of SIDS in about a decade, and sleep position went from MOST babies front-sleeping (so recommended they wouldn't choke on their own spit-up) to around 3/4 back-sleeping in about 15 years.

One of the most massive public health campaign victories of recent decades, I think. We are still retraining a generation of grandmas on how to swaddle. ;)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:49 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I knew I came to the right place!
posted by MansRiot at 11:56 AM on January 24, 2012

Best answer: After a major study in 2002 indicated a higher breast cancer link in women undergoing a particular progestin + estrogen hormone therapy, PremPro, for menopausal symptoms, nearly half of the women on PremPro just stopped taking it.

From 2002-2004, breast cancer rates dropped significantly, stabilizing at 10% less overall by 2004. The change has been attributed to women choosing other HRT options.
posted by misha at 12:09 PM on January 24, 2012

Sorry, the original study showed an increase in heart disease, but the result was a lower incidence in breast cancer rates.
posted by misha at 12:11 PM on January 24, 2012

Response by poster: It's still a relevant point and provides more material to work with, thank you.
posted by MansRiot at 12:14 PM on January 24, 2012

Best answer: In Oregon, the Death with Dignity act which allows for doctor-assisted suicide. The attention given to Jack Kevorkian on TV helped bring this issue to the forefront.
posted by perhapses at 12:15 PM on January 24, 2012

Response by poster: Nice angle Perhapses. If nothing else, it's another bullet of credibility for the link between TV/Film and the US pop.
posted by MansRiot at 12:17 PM on January 24, 2012

A negative example that might be useful is the 1997 rule that permitted Direct-to-Consumer Advertising by pharmaceutical companies. Here's an interesting discussion in the NYTimes. "Some academic studies have indicated that such advertising can help people who do need treatment to start taking, and stay on, appropriate drugs" while most people are concerned that the DTC advertising has directly led to a boom in prescribing that far exceeds "actual" need.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 12:31 PM on January 24, 2012

Best answer: It seems like you're getting at something similar to "social norm campaigns," or trying to change people's behavior by influencing their perception of what is normal. (That is, if everyone in porn wears a condom, then condom-wearing during sex is normal and expected and something they start to expect to do.) I know there's been quite a bit of work done around this type of campaign for drinking on college campuses--you should be able to dig up scholarly articles by searching pubmed or Google Scholar. I imagine there's been empirical studies done to try to estimate the size of the behavioral effect of these sorts of campaigns, which is what it sounds like you're looking for.

Good luck, interesting topic!
posted by iminurmefi at 12:52 PM on January 24, 2012

Maybe it's too old for your criteria, but I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the anti-spitting laws that were passed to control the spread of tuberculosis. This was a big deal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and should be well documented. As the second link shows, it went beyond just a law; it involved public media and cultural shifts that were quite new to the modern world at the time.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:15 PM on January 24, 2012

Motorcycle helmet laws would be a good example of this, too.

In the same vein, federal limits on speed regulations increased gas mileage, and may have made the roads safer. Seatbelt laws are another example, and child safety seat regulations.
posted by annsunny at 1:19 PM on January 24, 2012

When I was a kid, I remember MADD changing public discourse about alcohol consumption, not just as it pertained to DUI.
posted by not_on_display at 1:43 PM on January 24, 2012

I'm seeing more kids being taught to sneeze/cough into their elbows instead of their hands. I have no data no this but it may be something that shows up.

Someone remarked on this the other day saying "I didn't think it was possible but I've seen a change in how people sneeze around me in one generation"
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2012

I'm a day late, but I've heard, like not_on_display mentions, that the four most effective PSA campaigns to change public behavior in the last 50 years are anti-smoking, anti-drunk driving, anti-littering, and pro-seatbelt. The anti-littering DEFINITELY has that famous crying Indian spot behind it, although that one is the least public health related. Maybe there is some research on the correlation of strong public service ads on film and television and the success of those four campaigns?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:07 PM on January 25, 2012

Aside: this might be outside the scope of your research if you are limited to the US, but I've heard that rates of prescription drug use and childhood consumption of processed food are much lower in Europe, where advertising prescription drugs and advertising to children are more closely regulated, than they are in the US, where the regulatory climate is more, ah, liberal. A negative correlation, but a correlation nonetheless? HTH.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:09 PM on January 25, 2012

Response by poster: THe next step is to find the research on the effects of those ideas, so that I can try to say how the condom requirement would affect HIV rates. Whew.
posted by MansRiot at 4:10 PM on January 25, 2012

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