Exploring the perceived effectiveness of applied theater as a maternal health promotion tool in rural Zambia

Karlijn Massar*, Cephas Sialubanje, Irene Maltagliati, Robert A C Ruiter

*Corresponding author for this work

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In the current study, we aimed (a) to extend the previous research conducted in Kalomo District on the psychosocial factors that influence women's intention to utilize maternal health care services (MHS) and (b) to explore community members' perceptions of the use of a theater-based health promotion program to positively influence these factors among pregnant women. Semistructured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 44 respondents, and confirmed the importance of knowledge, perceived behavioral control, attitudes, social norms, and risk perception as influences on women's health care utilization. The majority of respondents were positive about the use of theater interventions in improving maternal health care-seeking behavior. The behavior change methods proposed to incorporate in theater plays were seen as appropriate and useful to convey health-related information in theater plays, in particular if the main character was an identifiable role model. Discussion focuses on the unique contributions and possibilities of utilizing theater in (maternal) health promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1933-1943
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number12
Early online date3 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • CARE
  • SELF
  • applied theater
  • health care utilization
  • health promotion
  • maternal health
  • modeling
  • narratives
  • perspective taking
  • qualitative research
  • risk perception
  • sub-Saharan Africa

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