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Publication Date



UM campus only

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Tyler R. Harrison

Second Committee Member

Susan E. Morgan

Third Committee Member

Nicholas Carcioppolo

Fourth Committee Member

Guillermo Prado


In an effort to address the gap in existing prevention efforts and expand existing persuasive models of behavior change, a randomized control trial evaluating the effectiveness of the serious game Por Nuestras Calles (PNC), was conducted. Due to the multifarious nature, causes, and manifestations of CSEC, this study benefited from moving away from traditional methodologies and employs an experientially-based approach to reducing the stigmatization of victims while seeking to increase empathic response and action from community members. The purpose of this manuscript is threefold: (1) it seeks to articulate the process by which a participatory approach was used in the creation of PNC, an active entertainment-education tool, for tackling the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC); (2) define mechanisms by which game-based, or active entertainment-education, differs from traditional entertainment-education (EE) models; and (3) assess the prosed relationships among variables in the context of active EE. In total, 268 members of the Colombian National Police were recruited and randomly assigned to one of two media-based conditions. Overall, results indicate the game had a greater effect on social constructs (e.g., stigma) whereas the active control seemed to activate interpersonal constructs (e.g., self-efficacy). Findings from this study contribute to a greater understanding of the ways in which EE functions and the potential for enhanced effects through enactive (experientially-based) strategies.


health communication; entertainment-education; serious games; randomized controlled trial; commercial sexual exploitation of children; prevention