Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 398–406 | Cite as

Evaluation of a Fotonovela to Increase Depression Knowledge and Reduce Stigma Among Hispanic Adults

  • Jennifer B. Unger
  • Leopoldo J. Cabassa
  • Gregory B. Molina
  • Sandra Contreras
  • Melvin Baron
Original Paper


Fotonovelas—small booklets that portray a dramatic story using photographs and captions—represent a powerful health education tool for low-literacy and ethnic minority audiences. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a depression fotonovela in increasing depression knowledge, decreasing stigma, increasing self-efficacy to recognize depression, and increasing intentions to seek treatment, relative to a text pamphlet. Hispanic adults attending a community adult school (N = 157, 47.5 % female, mean age = 35.8 years, 84 % immigrants, 63 % with less than high school education) were randomly assigned to read the fotonovela or a low-literacy text pamphlet about depression. They completed surveys before reading the material, immediately after reading the material, and 1 month later. The fotonovela and text pamphlet both produced significant improvements in depression knowledge and self-efficacy to identify depression, but the fotonovela produced significantly larger reductions in antidepressant stigma and mental health care stigma. The fotonovela also was more likely to be passed on to family or friends after the study, potentially increasing its reach throughout the community. Results indicate that fotonovelas can be useful for improving health literacy among underserved populations, which could reduce health disparities.


Hispanic Depression Fotonovela Stigma Knowledge Attitudes Intentions Health disparities Health literacy Narrative 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer B. Unger
    • 1
  • Leopoldo J. Cabassa
    • 2
  • Gregory B. Molina
    • 3
  • Sandra Contreras
    • 3
  • Melvin Baron
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention ResearchUniversity of Southern California Keck School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.USC School of PharmacyLos AngelesUSA

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