The average percentage of agreement for the coded variables was 89%. Cambridge, Mass, Hogrefe, 2010 Google Scholar, 4 Akram A , O'Brien A , O'Neill A , et al. The pervasiveness and nature of misinformation are difficult to ascertain because of the lack of empirically based studies of movies portraying schizophrenia. First, almost half of movie characters were judged to be of low socioeconomic status, consistent with epidemiological data demonstrating the inverse relationship between socioeconomic status and schizophrenia (29). Most characters displayed positive symptoms of schizophrenia. We located every story published in major national, state and territory online and print news media outlets in the year ending August 2012 that cited schizophrenia or schizophrenic. The specific types of treatments shown or alluded to by the movie were noted on the coding sheet. Sources for locating movies were Internet and print movie databases that allowed a search by topic or keyword. Previous research has shown that some printed material has been both negative and stigmatizing, which can have a detrimental impact on individuals with mental illnesses. For instance, Dr. Patricia Owen, a psychology professor at St. Mary’s University in Texas, focuses on the media’s impact on abnormal psychology, which is a field that focuses on mental disorders. The myths that traumatic events cause schizophrenia and that love cures schizophrenia were found in some movies but not as frequently as has been suggested (7,19,20). Stigma in Schizophrenia. The association of schizophrenia with the paranormal may represent a newly identified stereotype in contemporary movies—“schizophrenia as possessed.”. Stories in the news and on TV shows are often sensationalised and misleading. In this study, the finding that contemporary movies provide misinformation and negative representations of schizophrenia paralleled the negative depictions of mental illness by other media, such as television and newspapers (24). Some studies indicate an imbalance between the 2 may be the basis of the problem. Media portrayals and the general understanding of mental health conditions such as schizophrenia can perpetuate a number of myths that are harmful to people who have the condition. Hallucinations are where someone sees, hears, smells, tastes or feels things that do … Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000 Google Scholar, 14 Limosin F , Loze J , Philippe A , et al. By spreading and promoting myths about schizophrenia and violence, these industries have caused great damage to the struggle to reduce shame associated with mental illness. Violence toward others was coded as nonhomicidal or homicidal; attempted murder was coded as homicidal. The purpose of this study was to provide a content analysis of the portrayal of schizophrenia in contemporary movies to ascertain the prevalence of stereotypes and misinformation about schizophrenia. 3, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. Psychiatric Services 52:953–958, 2001 Link, Google Scholar, 45 Penn DL , Chamberlin C , Mueser KT : The effects of a documentary film about schizophrenia on psychiatric stigma. But recent portrayals on people living with schizophrenia cast some doubt on this theory. 12, No. According to movie critics, movies have falsely promoted the premise that traumatic life events, such as dysfunctional parenting, cause schizophrenia (18) and that schizophrenia can be cured by the special empathetic understanding of a loving helper (7,19,20). Objective: Critics of entertainment media have indicated that cinematic depictions of schizophrenia are stereotypic and characterized by misinformation about symptoms, causes, and treatment. Notable among the stereotypes supported was the association of schizophrenia and unpredictable behavior and violence. In particular, when characters with schizophrenia are presented as “homicidal maniacs” in “slasher” or “psycho killer” movies. American Journal of Public Health 89:1328–1333, 1999 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 34 Martin J , Pescosolido B , Tuch SA : Of fear and loathing: the role of “disturbing behavior,” labels, and causal attributions in shaping public attitudes toward people with mental illness. Others have found a change in th… Two researchers independently rated each character with a checklist that assessed demographic characteristics, symptoms and stereotypes, causation, and treatment. These media, however, have been widely criticized for their negatively stereotypic and inaccurate depictions of mental illness (1,2). Movies available for rent or purchase were viewed if the database's description referred to a character or a plot characterized by any of these terms. This study had some challenges and limitations. The exclusion of other visual media featuring characters with schizophrenia may have affected the generalizability of the findings. Disagreements in coding were discussed and resolved. One limitation of this study concerned the inclusion of only commercial movies made for theatrical release. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 111:316–319, 2005 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 23 Rosenstock J : Beyond “A Beautiful Mind”: film choices for teaching schizophrenia. To those who struggle with severe mental illness, the pejorative stereotypes found in movies about schizophrenia have detrimental consequences. Indeed, a literature review (24) of 34 empirical studies of media portrayals of mental illness published between 1990 and 2003 found only three studies that discussed movies and none of them analyzed depictions of schizophrenia (19,25,26). Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 47:487–503, 2012 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 11 Walsh E , Gilvarry C , Samele C , et al. A majority of characters displayed positive symptoms, including bizarre delusions (N=28, 67%), auditory hallucinations (N=26, 62%), visual hallucinations (N=22, 52%), and disorganized thought or speech (N=9, 21%). Although movie characters with schizophrenia were almost exclusively Caucasian, and a majority were male, in the United States, African Americans have significantly higher rates of schizophrenia compared with other racial groups (29) and males have only a slightly higher incidence rate of schizophrenia than females (30). This study appears to be the first to provide an empirically based content analysis of the portrayal of schizophrenia in contemporary movies. The consistently negative media portrayals of people living with schizophrenia certainly bring that theory into question. : Public conceptions of mental illness: labels, causes, dangerousness, and social distance. 2, Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening, Vol. 4, 15 March 2017 | Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. World Psychiatry 2:121–124, 2003 Medline, Google Scholar, 2 Wahl OF : News media portrayal of mental illness: implications for public policy. I have noted for several years that the mass media, including the BBC commonly refer to people presumed to be diagnosed with schizophrenia by such terms as 'a schizophrenic man' or ‘a paranoid schizophrenic’.. Gender, race or ethnicity, and estimates of age range and socioeconomic status were coded for each character. Causation of schizophrenia, if directly stated or implied, was coded as primarily environmental, primarily biological, or a combination of the two. The author reports no competing interests. Schizophrenia affects thinking, feeling and behaviour. As noted by Byrne (6) and Wedding and Niemiec (7), the psychiatric patient turned homicidal maniac is an ever-present feature of contemporary “slasher” or “psycho killer” films. Through the cinematic merging of emotionally arousing visual imagery and exciting and often intense dramatic narratives, movies allow viewers to identify with and connect emotionally with characters displaying mental disorders (40). Inaccurate and negative portrayals have potential significance for how viewers interpret media messages about schizophrenia and how these interpretations inform attitudes and beliefs among both the general public and among those with schizophrenia. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 46:643–650, 2011 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 43 Gaebel W , Baumann AE : Interventions to reduce the stigma associated with severe mental illness: experiences from the Open the Doors program in Germany. Future efforts extending this line of research would contribute to the discourse on the optimal uses of entertainment media to correct misinformation about schizophrenia and to promote an informed understanding of those with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. A majority (N=31, 74%) of movies did not identify any causal factors associated with schizophrenia, although about one-fourth (N=10, 24%) stated or implied that traumatic events were responsible for a character's schizophrenia. Dangerous or violent behavior was defined as intent to harm oneself or others. Unpredictable behaviors and dangerous or violent (nonhomicidal and homicidal) behaviors occurring in the active or the residual phase of schizophrenia were coded. A majority of the characters engaged in unpredictable behavior (N=30, 71%) and displayed some form of self-harm, ranging from self-mutilation to suicide (N=29, 69%). 9, American Psychiatric Association Publishing, DSM-5® Handbook of Differential Diagnosis, DSM-5® Handbook on the Cultural Formulation Interview, The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice, Psychiatric Services From Pages to Practice, News media portrayal of mental illness: implications for public policy, Crossing the line—learning psychiatry at the movies, Homicidal maniacs and narcissistic parasites: stigmatization of mentally ill persons in the movies, Fall and rise of the movie ‘psycho killer.’, The clinical use of films in psychotherapy, Schizophrenia: illness, stigma, and misconceptions. Stories in the news and on TV shows are often sensationalised and misleading. : Ten-year prospective follow-up study of the mortality by suicide in schizophrenic patients. Schizophrenia is just as much a disease as cancer, but the horrific twist the media places on it makes it seem ominous. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment. Estimated age ranged from preteen to 70 years old, and slightly less than half (N=18, 43%) of the characters were in their twenties. They review and reflect on some of the ways mental health has been portrayed in the media, including TV episodes and newspaper articles.The way mental illness is portrayed and reported in the media is incredibly powerful in educating and influencing the public. The finding that misinformation and negative portrayals of schizophrenia in contemporary movies are common underscores the importance of determining how viewers interpret media messages and how these interpretations inform attitudes and beliefs both of the general public and of people with schizophrenia. I thought that when I became an adult, I would have to start watching it, as if it was a compulsory grown-up thing. The earliest indications of childhood schizophrenia may include developmental problems, such as: 1. Race and risk of schizophrenia in a US birth cohort: another example of health disparity? Negative symptoms were less frequently depicted. There's a connection between neurotransmitters and schizophrenia because drugs that alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain are known to relieve some of the symptoms of schizophrenia. Self-mutilation, suicide attempts, or any other behavior that had the potential of harming oneself was coded as violence toward self. Considerable evidence indicates a substantial biological basis for schizophrenia (16) and use of antipsychotic medications—not electroconvulsive therapy or catharsis—as first-line treatment of schizophrenia symptoms.