“Madness” in the Media: How Can Print Journalists Better Report on Mental Illnesses?

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Stereo types and stigmas of individuals with mental illnesses have proved to be a major roadblock preventing these individuals from seeking help. The news media, despite having a responsibility to accurately inform the public, has played a significant role in portraying individuals with mental illness as violent, unpredictable, dangerous, and unfit to live with the rest of “normal” society. This happens through the words journalists choose to use and the information they choose in included, and excluded, when reporting on mental health issues. This study attempts to establish a guideline that journalists can follow that will hopefully reduce the stigma ... continued below

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iv, 96 pages

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Cousineau, Anna Desiree August 2014.

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  • Cousineau, Anna Desiree

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Stereo types and stigmas of individuals with mental illnesses have proved to be a major roadblock preventing these individuals from seeking help. The news media, despite having a responsibility to accurately inform the public, has played a significant role in portraying individuals with mental illness as violent, unpredictable, dangerous, and unfit to live with the rest of “normal” society. This happens through the words journalists choose to use and the information they choose in included, and excluded, when reporting on mental health issues. This study attempts to establish a guideline that journalists can follow that will hopefully reduce the stigma of mental illness in the media, and eventually in society. This study used a 2 x 2 ANCOVA to test two independent variables (amount of labeling terms and amount of corrective information). The variables were manipulated by modifying a news article four times to produce articles with varying levels of labeling terms and corrective information. A control article was also be used. The articles were randomized and passed out to 220 undergraduate college students at the University of North Texas who completed a questionnaire, read their assigned article, and then completed a second questionnaire to determine the impact the article had on their attitudes about individuals with mental illnesses.

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iv, 96 pages

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  • August 2014

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  • Aug. 21, 2015, 5:42 a.m.

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  • Nov. 10, 2016, 8:57 a.m.

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Cousineau, Anna Desiree. “Madness” in the Media: How Can Print Journalists Better Report on Mental Illnesses?, thesis, August 2014; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700042/: accessed April 5, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .