Pneumonia kills 11% of children under the age of five in Egypt yearly. Studies suggest that health educational cartoons are effective ways to educate children about healthy practices to prevent diseases. The literature suggests that children tend to learn better from and imitate same-gender models more than opposite-gender models. Healthy Egyptians, a non-governmental organization, developed a health educational cartoon to educate young children on the preventative practices of pneumonia through a boy called Montasser as the main character. It was hypothesized that having a female character as the main character in this cartoon would increase the girls’ knowledge of and intentions towards pneumonia prevention. To test this hypothesis, an alternative version of the coloring book was developed using a female character called Farah. Sixty girls ages four to seven, enrolled in three private schools in Cairo were exposed to either Montasser’s story or Farah’s story. The girls were interviewed both immediately after hearing the story and one week later in order to assess their enjoyment of the activity, knowledge of the material in the story, identification with the characters and their intentions towards pneumonia prevention. It was found that although there was insignificant difference in enjoyment of the story between the groups, across both groups the girls identified more with the Farah character. It was also found that the Farah group gained more knowledge and had higher intentions towards pneumonia prevention than the Montasser group, but this difference was insignificant. These results support studies that show that children tend to identify with same-gender models more than opposite-gender models. On the other hand, this insignificant difference might be due to small sample size of the study. The results support studies that found that health educational cartoons are effective in transmitting health information to children. The implications of this study for the health education of girls in Egypt are discussed.
MA in Community Psychology
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(2015).The impact of a cartoon character’s gender on Egyptian Girls’ knowledge of and intentions toward pneumonia prevention [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
El-shiaty, Farah Hafez. The impact of a cartoon character’s gender on Egyptian Girls’ knowledge of and intentions toward pneumonia prevention. 2015. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.