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Media Portrayals of Mental Illness and the Third-Person Effect
Unformatted Document Text:  M c K e e v e r - P a g e | 9 RQ3: What is the relationship between estimated effects of media portrayals of mental illness on self versus others? Within this context, and based on prior research examining the third-person effect, it is also predicted: H3: Students will perceive media portrayals as having a more powerful effect on others than on self Furthermore, as has been shown in studies such as Vallone et al.’s 38 research on perceptions of coverage during the Beirut massacre, relevance has been a strong predictor of heightened third- person perceptions. This study also predicts higher amounts of perceived effect on others versus self for individuals with experience receiving treatment for mental illness and those that were familiar with mentally ill individuals. Thus, H4: Relevance and familiarity will be associated with higher levels of estimated effects on others versus self METHODS The survey was administered through a Qualtrics Survey Software ©, which distributed a link to the web-based questionnaire via email to a list of randomly selected undergraduate students at a large southeastern (U.S.) university (N= 1,800). The responses were downloaded and the data were examined using SPSS 18.0 for Windows. All volunteer survey participants provided informed consent prior to the start of the online survey. 39 Data collection began on November 25, 2010, and ended on December 4, 2010. Because the initial survey was sent prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, reminder emails with the survey invitation were sent twice during this period to increase the likelihood that participants that checked their email less frequently over the Thanksgiving holiday would view one of the reminders either during or immediately following the break.

Authors: McKeever, Robert.
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M c K e e v e r   -   P a g e  | 
RQ3: What is the relationship between estimated effects of media portrayals of mental 
illness on self versus others? 
Within this context, and based on prior research examining the third-person effect, it is  
also predicted: 
H3: Students will perceive media portrayals as having a more powerful effect on others than 
on self 
Furthermore, as has been shown in studies such as Vallone et al.’s
 research on perceptions of 
coverage during the Beirut massacre, relevance has been a strong predictor of heightened third-
person perceptions. This study also predicts higher amounts of perceived effect on others versus 
self for individuals with experience receiving treatment for mental illness and those that were 
familiar with mentally ill individuals. Thus, 
H4: Relevance and familiarity will be associated with higher levels of estimated effects on 
others versus self 
The survey was administered through a Qualtrics Survey Software ©, which distributed a 
link to the web-based questionnaire via email to a list of randomly selected undergraduate 
students at a large southeastern (U.S.) university (N=
1,800). The responses were downloaded 
and the data were examined using SPSS 18.0 for Windows. All volunteer survey participants 
provided informed consent prior to the start of the online survey.
 Data collection began on 
November 25, 2010, and ended on December 4, 2010. Because the initial survey was sent prior 
to the Thanksgiving holiday, reminder emails with the survey invitation were sent twice during 
this period to increase the likelihood that participants that checked their email less frequently 
over the Thanksgiving holiday would view one of the reminders either during or immediately 
following the break.  

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