PMC’s impact on Adolescents in Mexico PUBLISHED IN PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL
The full peer-reviewed article was published in BMC Public Health. BMC Public Health is a peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal established in 2001 with a focus on public health and is published by BioMed Central.
A Glimpse of PMC’s Show: Vencer el Miedo
Every night 3.5 million viewers in Mexico switched their televisions to Televisa’s channel two to watch Vencer el Miedo (“Overcome the Fear”). The 47-episode, award-winning show followed the stories of four women at different ages as they navigated life, love, and tough choices.
The journeys of these women resonated with audiences, winning four awards at the 38th Annual TVyNovelas — including awards for best first actor and best co-starring actress. And by the end of the series, viewers found themselves engaging in more conversations with family members and counselors about important issues like safe sex. OrientaSEX, a hotline operated by professional counselors, launched in partnership with the show. The hotline received a weekly average of 2,868 calls.
PMC’s Dedication to Research
Monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) drive storytelling and program improvement at Population Media Center. These data-driven approaches are embedded in our work and are essential for understanding what we do. This peer-reviewed article on Vencer el Miedo is a prime example of how our evaluation and learning can contribute to the wider public health community for continued learning and greater impact. This peer-reviewed article was authored by Jorge A. Montoya, Aaron Plant, Deborah Nefa‑Creech, Cecilia Orvañanos, and Kriss Barker.
ABSTRACT of the article
Background: Adolescents in Mexico experience high pregnancy and birth rates. A collaboration with Grupo Televisa led to the development of an entertainment-education telenovela intervention, Overcome the Fear (OTF), which aired in 2020 to a national audience and addressed adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) topics. This study details the development and evaluation of OTF’s impact on adolescent contraceptive practices and parent-adolescent SRH communication in Mexico.
Methods: We conducted cross-sectional survey interviews (street-intercept and telephone) with 12–19-year-olds (n=1640) and parents of adolescent children (n=820) post-broadcast across Mexico’s fve most-populated metropol‑ itan zones. Quotas were implemented for gender, zone, and OTF viewership (viewer vs. non-viewer). Bivariate statistics and multivariable binary logistic regression models assessed the relationship between OTF viewership (including parent-adolescent co-viewing) and adolescent contraceptive practices and parent-adolescent SRH communication. Adolescent and parent data are not dyadic and were analyzed separately.
Results: Nearly half of adolescents (47.9%) and parents (47.7%) were viewers. Among adolescents, bivariate analyses suggest that viewers had less negative attitudes towards contraception (p<.001). Logistic regression models suggest that adolescent viewers were more likely to seek out information about contraception (p<.001) and unhealthy romantic relationships (p=.019), and to use contraception other than condoms (p=.027) and dual contraception (p=.042) in the last 3 months. Among parents, bivariate analyses suggest that non-viewers had more positive attitudes towards abstinence (p=.045) and more negative attitudes towards contraception and communication with adolescents about sex (p=.001). Logistic regression models suggest that parent viewers were more likely to have talked with adolescent children about sexual relations (p<.001), contraceptive methods (p=.01), condoms (p=.002), and abstinence (p=.002) in the last 3 months. Parent-adolescent co-viewing of OTF was also significantly related to certain outcomes in bivariate analyses.
Conclusions: This study suggests that viewership of a high-quality entertainment-education telenovela informed by extensive formative research is related to adolescent health outcomes and to parent-adolescent SRH communication on a country-wide scale in Mexico. Entertainment-education remains an underutilized public health strategy, despite Its promise to engage viewers and motivate healthful behaviors.