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Theory-driven role model stories improve palliative care knowledge among a diverse older population

  • Deborah F. Hoe (a1), Kayla Johari (a2), Anna Rahman (a1) and Susan Enguidanos (a1)



To test the effectiveness of theoretically driven role model video stories in improving knowledge of palliative care among a diverse sample of older adults.


We developed three 3–4 min long theoretically driven role model video stories. We then recruited cognitively intact, English-speaking adults aged 50 and older from senior centers, assisted living, and other community-based sites in the greater Los Angeles area. Using a pretest–posttest study design, we surveyed participants using the 13-item Palliative Care Knowledge Scale (PaCKS) and also asked participants about their intentions to enroll in palliative care should the need arise. Participants first completed the pretest, viewed the three videos, then completed the posttest comprised of the same set of questions.


PaCKS score improved from an average of 4.5 at baseline to 10.0 following video screening (t(126) = 12.0, p < 0.001). Intentions to enroll oneself or a family member in palliative care rose by 103% (χ2 = 7.8, p < 0.01) and 110% (χ2 = 7.5, p < 0.01), respectively. Regression analysis revealed that participants who believed the role models are real people (β = 2.6, SE = 1.2, p < 0.05) significantly predicted higher change in PaCKS score. Conversely, participants with prior knowledge of, or experience with, palliative care (β = −5.9, SE = 0.8, p < 0.001), non-whites (β = −3.6, SE = 0.9, p < 0.001), and widows (β = −2.9, SE = 1.1, p < 0.01) significantly predicted lower changes in PaCKS score.

Significance of results

This study suggests that theoretically driven role model video stories may be an effective strategy to improve palliative care knowledge. Role model video stories of diverse palliative care patients provide one way to mitigate health literacy barriers to palliative care knowledge.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Deborah F. Hoe, University of Southern California, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, 3715 McClintock Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA. E-mail:


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Theory-driven role model stories improve palliative care knowledge among a diverse older population

  • Deborah F. Hoe (a1), Kayla Johari (a2), Anna Rahman (a1) and Susan Enguidanos (a1)


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