“If I Were Nick”: Men’s Responses to an Interactive Video Drama Series   to Support Smoking Cessation

Joan L. Bottorff, Gayl Sarbit, John L. Oliffe, Mary T. Kelly, Maria Lohan, Sean Stolp, Paul Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Men continue to smoke in greater numbers than women; however, few interventions have been developed and tested to support men’s cessation. Men also tend to rely on quitting strategies associated with stereotypical manliness, such as willpower, stoicism and independence, but may lack the self‐efficacy skills required to sustain a quit. In this article we describe the development of and reception to an interactive video drama (IVD) series, composed of 7 brief scenarios, to support and strengthen men’s smoking cessation efforts. The value of IVD in health promotion is predicated on the evidence that viewers engage with the material when they are presented characters with whom they can personally identify. The video dramatizes the challenges unfolding in the life of the main character, Nick, on the first day of his quit and models the skills necessary to embark upon a sustainable quit. 
Objective: The objective was to describe men’s responses to the If I were Nick IVD series as part of a pilot study of QuitNow MenTM, an innovative smoking cessation website designed for men. Specific objectives were to explore the resonance of the main character of the IVD series with end‐users, and men’s perceptions of the effectiveness of the IVD series for supporting their quit self‐management. 
Methods: Seven brief IVD scenarios were developed, filmed with a professional actor and uploaded to a new online smoking cessation website, QuitNow MenTM.  A sample of 117 men who smoked were recruited into the study and provided baseline data prior to access to the QuitNow MenTM website for a 6 month period. During this time, 47 men chose to view the IVDs. Their responses to questions about the IVDs were collected in 3‐month and 6‐month online follow‐up surveys and analyzed using descriptive statistics. 
Findings: The majority of participants indicated they related to the main character, Nick. Participants who “strongly agreed” they could relate to Nick perceived significantly higher levels of support from the IVDs than the “neutral” and “disagree” groups (P <.001, d =2.0, P <.001 d =3.1). The “agree” and “neutral” groups were significantly higher on rated support from the videos than the “disagree” (P <.001 d =2.2, P =.01 d = 1.5). Participants’ perception of the main character was independent of participant age, education attainment or previous quit attempts. 
Conclusions: The findings suggest that IVD interventions may be an important addition to men’s smoking cessation programs. Given that the use of IVD scenarios in health promotion is in its infancy, the positive outcomes from this pilot study signal the potential for IVD and warrant ongoing evaluation in smoking cessation and, more generally, men’s health promotion.  
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere190
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Men's health; Interactive Video Drama; If I were jack; Jack Trial; Smoking Cesation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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