This project has two principal goals. First, it will systematically evaluate existing AIDS-educational video materials. This will be accomplished through content analysis of a sample of AIDS videos, drawing from the social science research literature on communication and persuasion; the content analysis will be followed by assessment of viewer reactions to the videos through a series of focus group discussions with New York City residents. Second, the findings from the evaluation study will be used to guide the production to prototype educational videos. The content of these videos also will be informed by the Principal Investigator's neofunctional theory of attitudes, a reformulation of earlier functional approaches to attitudes which assumes that people hold and express particular attitudes because they derive psychological benefit from doing so. Video messages are hypothesized to be more effective in increasing knowledge about AIDS and reducing hysteria when they address the primary function already served by a viewer's attitudes. It is further hypothesized that situational variables that increase the salience of needs related to particular attitude functions will also increase the effectiveness of AIDS videos addressing those functions. The efficacy of the prototype videos will be assessed through an experimental study with a probability sample of 300 New York City residents. The proposed research will yield both theoretical and empirical evaluations of AIDS videos currently in use. It will also provide guidelines for AIDS-educators to use in producing new AIDS messages for television broadcast. Findings from the research will be disseminated to policy makers, broadcasters, and AIDS- education groups, as well as to a professional audience.
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