Effects of a drug overdose in a television drama on presentations to hospital for self poisoning: time series and questionnaire study.
OBJECTIVES: To determine whether a serious paracetamol overdose in the medical television drama Casualty altered the incidence and nature of general hospital presentations for deliberate self poisoning. DESIGN: Interrupted time series analysis of presentations for self poisoning at accident and emergency departments during three week periods before and after the broadcast. Questionnaire responses collected from self poisoning patients during the same periods. SETTING: 49 accident and emergency departments and psychiatric services in United Kingdom collected incidence data; 25 services collected questionnaire data. SUBJECTS: 4403 self poisoning patients; questionnaires completed for 1047. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Change in presentation rates for self poisoning in the three weeks after the broadcast compared with the three weeks before, use of paracetamol and other drugs for self poisoning, and the nature of overdoses in viewers of the broadcast compared with non-viewers. RESULTS: Presentations for self poisoning increased by 17% (95% confidence interval 7% to 28%) in the week after the broadcast and by 9% (0 to 19%) in the second week. Increases in paracetamol overdoses were more marked than increases in non-paracetamol overdoses. Thirty two patients who presented in the week after the broadcast and were interviewed had seen the episode-20% said that it had influenced their decision to take an overdose, and 17% said it had influenced their choice of drug. The use of paracetamol for overdose doubled among viewers of Casualty after the episode (rise of 106%; 28% to 232%). CONCLUSIONS: Broadcast of popular television dramas depicting self poisoning may have a short term influence in terms of increases in hospital presentation for overdose and changes in the choice of drug taken. This raises serious questions about the advisability of the media portraying suicidal behaviour. (+info)
Health education in television entertainment--Medisch Centrum West: a Dutch drama serial.
World-wide a number of groups have sought ways to incorporate health messages into television entertainment like popular drama and soap serials. In the Netherlands, the Heart Foundation incorporated its cardiovascular health message in several episodes of a popular Dutch hospital serial called Medisch Centrum West. To obtain greater insight into the impact of this so-called 'entertainment-education (E & E) strategy', an evaluation study was carried out. Medisch Centrum West was both entertaining and informative at the same time. Although viewers were well aware that the programme included a health message, they did not find it intrusive to their enjoyment of the storyline. It was interesting to learn that fans were more tolerant and positive towards the E & E strategy than non-fans. Age, sex and education level explained only 5% of the variance. (+info)
At wit's end: forgiveness, dignity, and the care of the dying.
Medical commentators on the play W;t by Margaret Edson, have tended to highlight the play's medical themes in the hope that this will help to improve the care of the dying. In this essay, the author argues that a close reading of the play suggests an alternative approach. This approach would require physicians to become personally engaged with the play's broad underlying themes, in particular the themes of dignity, relationship, and forgiveness. Physicians who do this might be able to undergo the sort of personal transformation that could allow them to relate to dying patients more fully as fellow human beings. Such a reaction to the play by physicians might truly and radically improve the care of the dying. (+info)
The Noh mask effect: vertical viewpoint dependence of facial expression perception.
Full-face masks, worn by skilled actors in the Noh tradition, can induce a variety of perceived expressions with changes in head orientation. Out-of-plane rotation of the head changes the two-dimensional image characteristics of the face which viewers may misinterpret as non-rigid changes due to muscle action. Three experiments with Japanese and British viewers explored this effect. Experiment 1 confirmed a systematic relationship between vertical angle of view of a Noh mask and judged affect. A forward tilted mask was more often judged happy, and one backward tilted more often judged sad. This effect was moderated by culture. Japanese viewers ascribed happiness to the mask at greater degrees of backward tilt with a reversal towards sadness at extreme forward angles. Cropping the facial image of chin and upper head contour reduced the forward-tilt reversal. Finally, the relationship between head tilt and affect was replicated with a laser-scanned human face image, but with no cultural effect. Vertical orientation of the head changes the apparent disposition of facial features and viewers respond systematically to these changes. Culture moderates this effect, and we discuss how perceptual strategies for ascribing expression to familiar and unfamiliar images may account for the differences. (+info)
Journals of the plague years: documenting the history of the AIDS epidemic in the United States.
This commentary discusses several journalistic, literary, and historical accounts of the AIDS epidemic as it has unfolded in the United States over the past 2 decades. By examining the different ways that different types of storytellers chronicle the political, social, public health, medical, and economic aspects of epidemic disease, this essay will demonstrate why the AIDS epidemic has been of such intense interest not only to physicians and public health experts but also to journalists, novelists, playwrights, memoirists, and historians. AIDS is a particularly fascinating example of society's broad concern with epidemics because it both is a global pandemic and, in recent years, has become a chronic disease. (+info)
Evaluation of a primary school drug drama project: methodological issues and key findings.
This paper describes the impact evaluation of a primary school drug drama project developed by a health promotion service and a theatre's education department in England. The project targeted 10-11 year olds in 41 schools with an interactive drama production and workshop day on attitudes, choices, decisions and risks of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug use. Parents were also involved in parents' evenings and watching children's performances. The research consisted of both process evaluation, consultation with pupils, teachers, parents, actors and health promotion staff on the project itself, and impact evaluation which looked at potential changes in children's knowledge, attitudes and decision-making skills. This paper reports findings of the impact evaluation, from six of the schools participating in the project. The impact evaluation consisted of pre- and post-project testing using a 'draw and write' and a problem-solving exercise. These findings suggest that the project had a significant impact on the children's knowledge of names of specific illegal drugs, and on their awareness that alcohol and cigarettes were also drugs, and secondly encouraged the children to think in less stereotypical terms about drugs and drug users. The problem-solving exercise, involving decision-making scenarios, showed small but positive trends between pre- and post-project solutions in more than half of the response categories. Methodological difficulties relating to evaluating such a project are discussed. (+info)
The impact of a television soap opera on the NHS Cervical Screening Programme in the North West of England.
BACKGROUND: Mass media interventions can influence health care utilization but the effect of televised fictional accounts of illness upon national screening programmes is unknown. Our aim was to evaluate the impact of a Coronation Street story line, in which one of the characters died from cervical cancer, on the National Health Service (NHS) Cervical Screening Programme. METHODS: The study involved a retrospective analysis of information held on cervical screening databases ('Exeter' computer systems) of the nine Health Authorities constituting the Lancashire and Greater Manchester zones of the North West Region of the NHS. The number of cervical smears performed in the community, in women over 25 years of age, whose previous smear was normal and who were on routine recall, during a 6 month period that included the story line, was compared with those taken over the same period in the previous year. The proportions of smears classified by a screening interval of 'unscheduled', 'on time', 'overdue' or 'no previous smear' were compared. RESULTS: The number of smears performed increased from 65,714 in 2000 to 79,712 in 2001, an increase of 13,998 (21.3 percent; 95 per cent confidence interval (CI) 21.0-21.6 per cent) in the 19 weeks after the story line. The increase in the number of smears occurred in all categories of screening interval, with the largest increase seen in those attending 'on-time' (26 per cent). CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated a large impact of a soap opera story line on the cervical screening programme although the benefit to health is not clear. Further research will determine the long-term effect of the story. (+info)
The effect of 'Alma's' death on women attending for a cervical smear: a questionnaire survey.
Following a story line in Coronation Street in which 'Alma' died of cervical cancer there was a large increase in the number of cervical smears taken in Manchester. To ascertain the extent to which women were influenced to attend for smears by this story line and why, we carried out a postal survey. Our results show that women were influenced to attend for smears (22 per cent) with many women doing so because the story line made them worry. Television influenced screening behaviour but it must be of concern to health promoters that this was done through the generation of anxiety. (+info)