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Abstract

Excerpt from the full-text article:

Communications research has repeatedly documented the fact that people are affected by the various forms of mass media, and so family planning programs have begun to use television (Hutchinson, 1970), radio, movies, posters, telephones (Dabbs and Neiger, 1970), newspapers, and various combinations of these media (Clark and Morris, 1972; Chase, 1972; Balakrishnan, 1967; Takeshita, 1966; Cernada and Lu, 1972) in transmitting the message of family planning. Our present media focus, however, involves direct mailing, which in contrast to other media, often has the advantages of being sent by an authoritative or prestigious source, is relatively inexpensive, can be directed to specific individuals, and may be passed along to others by the recipient.

Direct mailings have typically not met with much success in family planning programs where the intention of the direct mailing was the immediate recruitment of family planning acceptors. Freedman and Takeshita (1969) report that in Taiwan the family planning acceptance rate in neighborhoods where mailings were sent was no higher than in neighborhoods where no program effort was made. A similar outcome was observed in Seoul, Korea, where mailings specifically keyed to the IUD failed to produce any significant effect (Kwon et. al., 1966). However, Schramm (1971) reports that more recent efforts in Taiwan with direct mailings to new mothers have brought a 4% acceptance rate, and Cernada (1970) reports that 1-2% acceptance rates have been obtained with direct mailings to women in towns without field workers, to government employees, and to teachers. Udry's 6 month, $330,000 multimedia advertising campaign had no effect on the sale of contraceptives in drug stores (Levy, 1972), but did have a very slight effect on patient recruitment to clinics (Clark and Morris, 1972; Udry, 1972). On the other hand, a Chicago direct mail experiment apparently doubled the expected number of clinic patients for a time (Rosa and Bogue, 1966). Thus, while the results of direct mailings have been variable, they have typically had very limited impact on patient recruitment.

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