Addressing Media Stigma for People Experiencing Mental Illness Using an Entertainment-Education Strategy

Annenburg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.
Journal of Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 1.22). 04/2006; 11(2):247-67. DOI: 10.1177/1359105306061185
Source: PubMed


This study examines the effects of Entertainment-Education strategy on knowledge acquisition about schizophrenia and stigma reduction, using pretest posttest control group and 2 X 3 (advocate's perspective X message style) between-subjects factorial design. Participants watched an accurate and empathetic movie portrayal of schizophrenia, followed by an educational trailer. Participants (N= 165) were randomly assigned to one of eight conditions (six manipulated conditions, control, a group who watched a trailer prior to the movie). Results showed that viewing an accurate and empathetic movie portrayal increased knowledge. The educational trailer increased not only knowledge acquisition but influenced stigma reduction. Structural equation modeling analysis revealed that entertainment and educational value of the movie mediated stigma reduction. Implications of this study to the mental health research and the design of Entertainment-Education contents are discussed.


Available from: Ute Ritterfeld, Feb 09, 2015
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    • "A study that exposed participants to a feature-length film about a woman's struggle with schizophrenia reports less stigmatization and significant knowledge gain only when participants watched the film followed by an educational trailer. Exposure to the film alone led to an increase in negative attitudes toward people with mental illness (Ritterfield & Jin, 2006). Thornton and Wahl (1996) also report more tolerant views of persons with mental illness after exposure to prophylactic stimuli in their study of news stories presenting a violent murderer as a person with mental illness. "
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    ABSTRACT: Popular media is both a common source for information about mental illness and notorious for its disproportionately negative and violent portrayals of those with mental illness. This research undertook an experiment (N = 92) to explore the competing influences of mass communication messages and interpersonal familiarity/ experience with people with mental illness on stigmatizing attitudes toward the mentally ill. Results demonstrate that exposure to negative, violent mediated portrayals of the mentally ill increase stigmatizing attitudes toward the mentally ill, while exposure to positive, sympathetic portrayals of the mentally ill relates to less stigmatizing attitudes toward the mentally ill. Greater interpersonal familiarity with those with mental illness was related to less stigmatizing attitudes toward the mentally ill regardless of viewing condition. Transportation and presence experienced while viewing the narratives with mental illness portrayals was proposed as a contributing mechanism behind adopting story consistent beliefs, but it was not related to adopting narrative consistent attitudes.
    Studies in Media and Communication 12/2015; 3(2). DOI:10.11114/smc.v3i2.1130
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    • "). On the other hand, research also showed that exposure to empathetic, nonstereotypical, and positive media portrayals is associated with increased knowledge and decreased stigma (Corrigan, Powell, & Michaels, 2013; Ritterfeld & Jin, 2006), which indicates important implications for health journalism and public educational efforts. Presented here is the first systematic analysis of stigmarelated content in autism coverage by five leading newspapers in China between 2003 and 2012. "
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    ABSTRACT: Autism is a highly stigmatized developmental disability in many societies, and the media are major contributors to such stigma. Presented here is the first systematic analysis of Chinese newspapers’ coverage of autism for stigma-causing content. More specifically, it examines the age of autistic people reported, the image of autistic people, and the use of stigma cues (in terms of peril, mark, and shame) and challenge cues (in terms of personification, hope, and fight) in five leading newspapers in China between 2003 and 2012. It finds that while the reportage of autism increases over time, which might contribute to the public’s heightened awareness of the condition, such reportage is often biased. The most common stereotypes about autism in Chinese newspapers are autistic people as children, as patients, or as savants. The most often-used challenge cues are personification and hope, but their uses significantly decrease in percentage from 2003 to 2012. The most often-used stigma cues are peril and mark. The use of the shame cue is relatively less frequent, but it increases significantly over the 10-year period. Theoretically, this paper provides an application of stigma communication theory in a non-Western context. Practically, it not only contributes to the current knowledge about media representation of autism in China, but also suggests that it is important for media agencies and health care professionals to promote media guidelines and train health journalists for reporting disability issues in a non-stigmatizing way.
    Health Communication 12/2015; 31(4). DOI:10.1080/10410236.2014.965381 · 0.97 Impact Factor
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    • "First, the primary outcome measure was designed specifically to assess mental health knowledge in relation to the HeadStrong program and is not a validated measure. Nevertheless, this approach is commonly utilised in studies assessing knowledge acquisition pertaining to educational programs (e.g., Burns & Rapee, 2006; Han, Chen, Hwang, & Wei, 2006; Ritterfeld & Jin, 2006) and the outcome measure was been adapted from an existing mental health literacy questionnaire (Griffiths et al., 2004). Second, the study was conducted in Catholic and Independent schools in Central West NSW. "
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests that poor mental health literacy is a key barrier to help-seeking for mental health difficulties in adolescence. Educational programs have shown positive effects on literacy, however, the evidence base remains limited and available studies have many methodological limitations. Using cluster Randomised Control Trial (RCT) methodology, the current study examines the impact of 'HeadStrong', a school-based educational intervention, on mental health literacy, stigma, help-seeking, psychological distress and suicidal ideation. A total of 380 students in 22 classes (clusters) from 10 non-government secondary schools was randomised to receive either HeadStrong or Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) classes. Participants were assessed pre- and post-intervention, and at 6-month follow-up. Literacy improved and stigma reduced in both groups at post-intervention and follow-up, relative to baseline. However, these effects were significantly greater in the HeadStrong condition. The study demonstrates the potential of HeadStrong to improve mental health literacy and reduce stigma.
    Journal of Adolescence 08/2014; 37(7):1143-1151. DOI:10.1016/j.adolescence.2014.08.001 · 2.05 Impact Factor
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