Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





Committee Chair

Amanda J. Young

Committee Member

Sandra J Sarkela

Committee Member

Walter G Kirkpatrick

Committee Member

Kenneth D Ward


The purpose of this dissertation research was to study the ways that members of the P.R.I.D.E. club at Houston High School in Germantown, Tennessee used entertainment-education communication strategies in their presentations and the interpersonal persuasive strategies members used when talking with peers about substance abuse. Participants in this study were members of the P.R.I.D.E. club and ranged in age from 14-years-old to 18-years-old. My research questions examined how P.R.I.D.E. incorporated constructs of entertainment-education (emotional involvement, identification with characters, self-efficacy, perceived realism, and fear appeals) into their presentations to persuade peers to abstain from using alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, and examined the use of persuasive strategies in P.R.I.D.E.'s presentations. To gain insight into these questions, I conducted focus groups and semi-structured interviews and completed a textual analysis of club materials. The qualitative data analysis of the focus groups revealed three communication strategies that P.R.I.D.E. members use when talking with peers about substance abuse:indirect communication, reframing, and nonjudgmental communication. The focus groups and textual materials also revelaed the use of rhetorical appeals, in order of frequency:emotional appeals, logical appeals, and ethical appeals. The qualitative data analysis of the interviews revealed the use of entertainment-education themes in order of frequency:perceived realism, self-efficacy, fear appeals, emotional involvement, and audience identification. The interviews also yielded three themes:Impact, Inclusion, and Commitment, with Impact being the foremost theme. Four subcategories of this theme emerged:members as role models, feeling of confidence, members as teachers, and reciprocity. In addition, the explicit metaphors of Family and Members as Missionaries emerged from the interviews. Altogether, these themes reflected the impact of belonging to P.R.I.D.E. as experienced by its members. My recommendations include working with P.R.I.D.E. to develop a theory-based approach to their presentations; helping P.R.I.D.E. develop a series using the same characters for continuity and the strengthening of entertainment-education strategies; encouraging them to collaborate with other health-based clubs in their school to jointly develop materials about health issues that are relevant to both groups; and encouraging them to pair entertainment-education with interpersonal communication that includes experiential activities for their audience.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.