ERIC Number: ED424499
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Aug
Mental Health Professionals According to Prime-Time: An Exploratory Analysis.
Diefenbach, Donald L.; Burns, Naomi J.; Schwartz, Alan L.
The public receives a large percentage of its information about mental health issues from media sources. Research has shown that the portrayal of occupational roles is often distorted and unrealistic. Cultivation theory predicts that television's version of reality helps influence or "cultivate" viewers' beliefs about the world. This cultivation might influence a person's expectations or behavior during an encounter with these professionals, or even influence viewers' decisions to consult these professionals when in need of service. Research for this paper employed mixed methods to explore how mental health professionals are portrayed on television. Analysis of characters involved a random sample across all genres of programming. Trained coders (n=9) identified 10 out of 1,844 speaking characters as mental health professionals. Descriptive statistics are reported on the characters. A content analysis by type of programming is presented and discussed. Exploratory analysis examining the portrayal of mental health professionals on prime-time television indicates that portrayals can not be classified by tone in a single category; however tone appears to be consistent within certain programming genres. Future survey research is planned. Contains 15 references. (EMK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention (106th, San Francisco, CA, August 14-18, 1998).