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Fighting Against Stigma Attached to People Suffering From Mental Illness Using Entertainment-Education Strategy
Unformatted Document Text:  Entertainment-Education on Mental Illness 27 ------------------------- Discussion In this study we addressed the question of whether an accurate, empathetic media portrayal can contribute to stigma reduction. We chose a movie about schizophrenia that fulfilled the following requirements: portrayal of a sympathetic, yet seriously ill female character; depiction of schizophrenic episodes she experiences; her struggling with treatment; and social consequences of the schizophrenia. Data reveal that the movie did in fact have educational value for the audience; the effect of movie portrayal, however, was much smaller than that of an educational trailer attached to the movie. The same pattern holds true for an objective measure on knowledge acquisition: Viewing the movie contributed to knowledge gain, but the effect of the movie alone was rather small compared to knowledge acquisition in the other conditions where an educational trailer was also attached. Also, knowledge gain does not necessarily contribute to stigma reduction. Attitude change occurred only if the movie was combined with the trailer supplement. Only viewing the movie resulted in an increase of negative attitudes towards mental illness. The present experiment offers strong empirical support for an intervention strategy that combines an accurate and empathetic movie portrayal with an educational trailer in an attempt to increase knowledge about schizophrenia, as well as to reduce stigma attached to the illness. Thus, this study supports the use of Entertainment- Education strategies for stigma reduction. Prior to treatment, 99% of the sample believed that “schizophrenia results in aggressive and often violent behavior”. Only 31% right after the treatment and 33% during the follow-up reported this misconception about

Authors: Ritterfeld, Ute. and Jin, Seung-A.
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Entertainment-Education on Mental Illness
27
-------------------------
Discussion
In this study we addressed the question of whether an accurate, empathetic media
portrayal can contribute to stigma reduction. We chose a movie about schizophrenia that
fulfilled the following requirements: portrayal of a sympathetic, yet seriously ill female
character; depiction of schizophrenic episodes she experiences; her struggling with
treatment; and social consequences of the schizophrenia. Data reveal that the movie did
in fact have educational value for the audience; the effect of movie portrayal, however,
was much smaller than that of an educational trailer attached to the movie. The same
pattern holds true for an objective measure on knowledge acquisition: Viewing the movie
contributed to knowledge gain, but the effect of the movie alone was rather small
compared to knowledge acquisition in the other conditions where an educational trailer
was also attached. Also, knowledge gain does not necessarily contribute to stigma
reduction. Attitude change occurred only if the movie was combined with the trailer
supplement. Only viewing the movie resulted in an increase of negative attitudes towards
mental illness.
The present experiment offers strong empirical support for an intervention
strategy that combines an accurate and empathetic movie portrayal with an educational
trailer in an attempt to increase knowledge about schizophrenia, as well as to reduce
stigma attached to the illness. Thus, this study supports the use of Entertainment-
Education strategies for stigma reduction. Prior to treatment, 99% of the sample believed
that “schizophrenia results in aggressive and often violent behavior”. Only 31% right
after the treatment and 33% during the follow-up reported this misconception about


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