Award Date

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies

Department

Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Paul Traudt, Chair

Second Committee Member

Anthony Ferri

Third Committee Member

Julian Kilker

Graduate Faculty Representative

Sandra Owens-Kane

Number of Pages

103

Abstract

The media have been found to be the public’s main source of information on mental illness. Schizophrenia is one of the most widely misunderstood, stereotyped and stigmatized mental disorders, and it is no surprise that portrayals of schizophrenia in the media have been found to be very negative in nature. Participants were given a pretest, shown stimulus material, then given a posttest. The pretest and posttest consisted of questions from the Community Attitudes on Mental Illness (CAMI) scale and questions assessing views of dangerousness. Participants viewed an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in which a man with schizophrenia is depicted as a very dangerous sexual deviant. Results indicated that viewers’ attitudes were significantly affected by the portrayal of schizophrenia in the episode. Viewers generally tended to support community-based healthcare less and found people with schizophrenia more dangerous after viewing the stimulus material.

Keywords

Attitudes; CAMI; Crime drama; Dangerous; Experiment; Schizophrenia

Disciplines

Mass Communication

Language

English


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