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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 | 14 [Insert Table 3 Here] In response to the question used to assess personal relevance, 27% of respondents reported that they themselves had been diagnosed or treated for some type of issue relating to mental health. Of those classified as high relevance under the current operationalization of the concept, slightly more than half (51%) reported having a family member that had been diagnosed with some form of mental illness. For the measure of familiarity, 54% of respondents indicated they presently have contact with an individual suffering from mental illness. Over three quarters (78.6%) of the respondents that were categorized as having familiarity with mentally ill individuals also reported having family members with mental health problems. RQ2: What is the relationship between attitudes about media portrayals of mental illness and perceptions of media influence? Prior to analysis of the relationship between attitudes about media portrayals and perceived influence, student beliefs about media portrayals were also examined, because the basis for the prevailing student attitudes about the general undesirability of media portrayals lacked clear explanation. To better understand this, in the context of media-specific measures, beliefs about depictions of mental illness were examined in the context of respondent estimations of personal media exposure. A one-way between-groups analysis of variance was performed to accomplish this examination of the impact of overall media consumption on respondent attitudes about media portrayals of mental illness. Subjects were divided into three groups according to their reported amount of weekly media consumption, in minutes (Low<=210; Medium = 211-360; High = 361+). Results indicated a statistically significant difference at the p<.005 level in perceived negativity for the three groups: F (2, 167) =5.493, p=.005. The difference in mean scores

Authors: McKeever, Robert.
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M c K e e v e r   -   P a g e  | 14 
 
[Insert Table 3 Here] 
 
In response to the question used to assess personal relevance, 27% of respondents 
reported that they themselves had been diagnosed or treated for some type of issue relating to 
mental health. Of those classified as high relevance under the current operationalization of the 
concept, slightly more than half (51%) reported having a family member that had been diagnosed 
with some form of mental illness. For the measure of familiarity, 54% of respondents indicated 
they presently have contact with an individual suffering from mental illness. Over three quarters 
(78.6%) of the respondents that were categorized as having familiarity with mentally ill 
individuals also reported having family members with mental health problems. 
RQ2: What is the relationship between attitudes about media portrayals of mental illness and 
perceptions of media influence? 
 
Prior to analysis of the relationship between attitudes about media portrayals and 
perceived influence, student beliefs about media portrayals were also examined, because the 
basis for the prevailing student attitudes about the general undesirability of media portrayals 
lacked clear explanation. To better understand this, in the context of media-specific measures, 
beliefs about depictions of mental illness were examined in the context of respondent estimations 
of personal media exposure.  
A one-way between-groups analysis of variance was performed to accomplish this 
examination of the impact of overall media consumption on respondent attitudes about media 
portrayals of mental illness. Subjects were divided into three groups according to their reported 
amount of weekly media consumption, in minutes (Low<=210; Medium = 211-360; High = 
361+). Results indicated a statistically significant difference at the p<.005 level in perceived 
negativity for the three groups: F (2, 167) =5.493, p=.005. The difference in mean scores 


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