49, No. By closing this message, browsing this website, continuing the navigation, or otherwise continuing to use the APA's websites, you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, including the utilization of cookies. The myth of schizophrenia and violence, that people with schizophrenia are inherently violent, persists. Seven (17%) characters were portrayed as gifted or as having a special talent, usually in music, science, mathematics, or art. : From shunned to shining: doctors, madness and psychiatry in Australian and New Zealand cinema. 44, No. There is substantial evidence that schizophrenia is associated with high rates of violence toward self. International Review of Psychiatry 21:241–244, 2009 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 22 Gharaibeh NM : The psychiatrist's image in commercially available American movies. Some people will have one or two episodes and go on make a … The Feelings an Individual with Schizophrenia May Experience 7. Research suggests schizophrenia may be caused by a change in the level of 2 neurotransmitters: dopamine and serotonin. Predicting violence in schizophrenia: a prospective study, Crime victimization in adults with severe mental illness: comparison with the National Crime Victimization Survey, Ten-year prospective follow-up study of the mortality by suicide in schizophrenic patients, From shunned to shining: doctors, madness and psychiatry in Australian and New Zealand cinema, Cinemadness: in search of sanity in films, Caveat actor, caveat emptor: some notes on some hazards of Tinseltown teaching, The psychiatrist's image in commercially available American movies, Beyond “A Beautiful Mind”: film choices for teaching schizophrenia, Images of mental illness in the media: identifying gaps in the research, The role of gender in the presentation of mental health clinicians in the movies: implications for clinical practice, Mental illness depiction in children's films, The public mental health significance of research on socioeconomic factors in schizophrenia and major depression, Mental illness depictions in prime-time drama: identifying the discursive resources. That the general public holds misinformed beliefs and negative attitudes about serious mental illness has been well documented (32–34). : Community attitudes to mental illness. Joker Examples of environmental causes are traumatic events or dysfunctional family interactions. Critics of entertainment media have indicated that cinematic depictions of schizophrenia are stereotypic and characterized by misinformation about symptoms, causes, and treatment. Psychiatric News 42:6, 2007 Link, Google Scholar, 9 Dinan TG : Schizophrenia: illness, stigma, and misconceptions. Please read the entire Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Schizophrenia Bulletin 29:383–391, 2003 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar. Sensational stories in the media tend to present people with schizophrenia as dangerous, even though most people diagnosed with schizophrenia don't commit violent crimes. : Crime victimization in adults with severe mental illness: comparison with the National Crime Victimization Survey. These portrayals disseminate misinformation about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of schizophrenia as well as other forms of severe mental illness. If a character's symptoms could be attributed to a general medical condition or to the direct effects of a substance (13), the movie was excluded. Movies have been criticized for paying negligible attention to psychopharmacological treatments for mental illness (19), while featuring other treatments, such as electroconvulsive therapy (21) and catharsis (19), as commonplace. Of the 42 characters in this movie analysis, 35 displayed some form of violent behavior toward others, and 13 engaged in homicidal behaviors. Causation of schizophrenia was infrequently noted, although about one-fourth of movies implied that a traumatic life event was significant in causation. A character who displayed exceptional skills or talents during active or residual phases of schizophrenia was coded as a genius. Movies may also perpetuate the misconception that schizophrenia is linked to genius or extraordinary creative ability (17). One challenge concerned the decision to include movies that had only limited runs in theaters or that were released directly to video. Some movie characters with schizophrenia were depicted as having unusual experiences with otherworldly phenomena, an unexpected finding. Hospital and Community Psychiatry 42:1044–1048, 1991 Abstract, Google Scholar, 6 Byrne P : Fall and rise of the movie ‘psycho killer.’ Psychiatric Bulletin 22:174–176, 1998 Crossref, Google Scholar, 7 Wedding D , Niemiec RM : The clinical use of films in psychotherapy. Schizophrenia Research 67:247–252, 2004 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 12 Teplin LA , McClelland GM , Abram KM , et al. Moreover, the portrayal of schizophrenia in the media has been widely censured by many scholars. 56, No. Delusions were featured most frequently, followed by auditory and visual hallucinations. The author acknowledges Rita Olfers, M.A., and Alexia Wilson, B.A., for their support in viewing and coding movies. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. British Journal of Psychiatry 168:183–190, 1996 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 37 Levey S , Howells K : Dangerousness, unpredictability, and the fear of people with schizophrenia. 3, 17 May 2016 | The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, Vol. (Psychiatric Services 63:655–659, 2012; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201100371). Terminator: Dark Fate Psychotropic medications were depicted or alluded to by slightly over half (N=23, 55%) of the movies, but other therapeutic modalities, such as psychotherapy or group therapy, were infrequently depicted. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 48:657–662, 2003 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 44 Corrigan P , Green A , Lundin R , et al. : Familiarity with and social distance from people who have serious mental illness. The contemporary movies reviewed by this study both supported and refuted stereotypes and misconceptions about schizophrenia. Media Coverage and How It Can Cause Fear and Misunderstanding in Regard to Schizophrenia 5. It does not make someone dangerous or violent. The movies emphasized positive symptoms of schizophrenia and featured visual hallucinations as commonplace despite the fact that negative symptoms of schizophrenia are more common. Rates of suicide completion were estimated to be ten to 16 times higher among people with schizophrenia than among the general population (13,14). 80, No. 137, No. 4, New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, Vol. Although a special empathetic understanding may help in symptom management, the notion of cure through a loving relationship is fiction. Archives of General Psychiatry 62:911–921, 2005 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 13 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed, rev. These movies were included in the analysis because by linking unusual behaviors with the label of schizophrenia, they most likely would lead viewers without disconfirming information to believe such behaviors were indicative of schizophrenia. These cinematic depictions, however, are not supported by research. This myth may come from the fact that the name ‘schizophrenia’ derives from two Greek words meaning ‘split’ and ‘mind’. Journal of Community Psychology 31:553–560, 2003 Crossref, Google Scholar, 27 Saraceno B , Levav I , Kohn R : The public mental health significance of research on socioeconomic factors in schizophrenia and major depression. Although all of the movies contained misinformation about schizophrenia, in a few movies the misinformation was judged to be inconsequential and did not detract from an overall accurate and compelling portrayal of schizophrenia. Understanding the Term ‘Schizophrenia’ 4. Some movie characters with schizophrenia were depicted as having unusual experiences with otherworldly ph… 5, International Journal of Mental Health, Vol. Over half of the movies that alluded to or depicted treatment referred to the use of medications, a finding that may reflect a greater awareness by filmmakers of current psychiatric treatment for schizophrenia. A majority (N=35, 83%) of the characters displayed dangerous or violent behaviors toward others, and nearly one-third (N=13, 31%) of violent individuals engaged in homicidal behavior. Positive symptoms (bizarre delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and disorganized behavior) and negative symptoms (alogia, avolition, and flat affect) consistent with DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia were coded (13). One of the more prevalent stereotypes found in movies is the depiction of a character with a serious mental illness as dangerous and violent (4). Notable among the stereotypes supported was the association of schizophrenia and unpredictable behavior and violence. Critics of entertainment media have indicated that cinematic depictions of schizophrenia are stereotypic and characterized by misinformation about symptoms, causes, and treatment. Movies, Netflix, Time Out Film Guide, VideoHound Movie Guide, and numerous other movie anthologies available online or in print. Of course some people … Journal of Humanistic Counseling 38:96–110, 1999 Google Scholar, 39 Cape GS : Addiction, stigma, and movies. British Journal of Psychiatry 177:4–7, 2000 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 33 Link BG , Phelan JC , Bresnahan M , et al. Washington DC, American Psychiatric Press, 1999 Google Scholar, 20 Swaminath G , Bhide A : Cinemadness: in search of sanity in films. Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. 4, Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, Early Intervention in Psychiatry, Vol. : Crossing the line—learning psychiatry at the movies. The portrayals of causation and treatments of schizophrenia by movies are also considered to be inaccurate or misrepresented. As described in the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, this website utilizes cookies, including for the purpose of offering an optimal online experience and services tailored to your preferences. Over two decades ago, Hyler and coauthors (5) identified the “homicidal maniac” as one of Hollywood's more pejorative stereotypes about people with mental illness. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. Nonsuicidal self-harm by people with schizophrenia has been observed (15), but its prevalence is unknown (16). More contemporary movies have continued to conflate violent behavior with mental illness. Inevitably the negative beliefs and ideas that the public, the press, employers and health workers have around this condition impacts on the lives of those suffering from it. The Causes of Schizophrenia 6. Each movie character meeting selection criteria for schizophrenia was coded on each variable. The pervasiveness and nature of misinformation are difficult to ascertain because of the lack of empirically based studies of movies portraying schizophrenia. Hallucinations. Rates of schizophrenia are higher among African Americans than Caucasians (30) and only slightly higher among males than females (31). Newspaper media are a major source of information about mental illness in the United States. In media portrayal of schizophrenia, such as A Beautiful Mind, schizophrenic characters are depicted as dangerous, violent, distrusting, paranoid, awkward, and unstable people that need to be hospitalized due to exaggerated delusions and hallucinations. The cinematic association of schizophrenia with behavior that is violent, unpredictable, and seemingly without justification potentially fuels an “us versus them” mentality that conveys the message that people with schizophrenia are different and should be feared and avoided. Estimate of socioeconomic status was based on the character's predominant place of residence (27) and was categorized as low (included living on the street), middle, high, or undetermined (for example, living in an inpatient setting or halfway house). Early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop and may help improve the long-term outlook. What's more, research has shown that popular movies have been shown to exert potent influenc… Forty-two characters from 41 movies were identified, a majority of whom were male and Caucasian. Schizophrenia Bulletin 30:543–561, 2004 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 25 Bischoff RJ , Reiter AD : The role of gender in the presentation of mental health clinicians in the movies: implications for clinical practice. A total of 42 characters met selection criteria for schizophrenia. 1, Early Intervention in Psychiatry, Vol. Voices. International Review of Psychiatry 21:267–268, 2009 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 5 Hyler SE , Gabbard GO , Schneider I : Homicidal maniacs and narcissistic parasites: stigmatization of mentally ill persons in the movies. To provide a more comprehensive assessment of the portrayal of schizophrenia by the visual media, future research should expand the scope of media to include documentaries and movies made for television. This study analyzed portrayals of schizophrenia in contemporary movies to ascertain prevalence of stereotypes and misinformation about schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia spectrum disorder have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease later in life, according to both regional and nationwide data from Finland.. Media messages associating violence with severe mental illness may also contribute to stigmatization and the consequences of social rejection, social distancing, and discrimination that are often experienced by those with a severe mental illness (33,34,43). Academic Psychiatry 27:117–122, 2003 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 24 Stout PA , Villegas J , Jennings NA : Images of mental illness in the media: identifying gaps in the research. The variables are described below, by category. (Attitudes towards mental illness) Developing a learning resource for use within a clinical call centre: a systematic literature review on attitudes towards mental illness, Dangerousness, unpredictability, and the fear of people with schizophrenia, Relationship of the media to attitudes toward people with mental illness, Dispelling myths about schizophrenia using film. Schizophrenia Research 94:23–28, 2007 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 15 Skegg K : Self-harm. Yet the association of genius with schizophrenia is considered largely to be a myth, given that the diminished cognitive abilities of many people with schizophrenia preclude the ability to sustain the focused attention necessary for creative achievement (16). The truth is: It does not mean someone has a 'split personality'. 4, 24 April 2020 | JAMA Network Open, Vol. Mental disorder and violence: is there a relationship beyond substance use? International Journal of Epidemiology 36:751–758, 2007 Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar, 30 McGrath JJ : The surprisingly rich contours of schizophrenia epidemiology. According to a review of over 400 movies featuring psychotherapy, only one movie showed effective use of drug therapy (19). The Ways Schizophrenia Affects the Individual and Their Life 8. Profits and yellow journalism cause the stigma schizophrenia pa… Australasian Psychiatry 9:365–369, 2001 Crossref, Google Scholar, 32 Crisp AH , Gelder MG , Rix S , et al. Not only does this stigmatize the diagnosis, but it also inflates the reality of knowing someone with the diagnosis. Keyword search terms were “schizophrenia,” “mental illness” or “mental problems,” “psychiatric illness” or “psychiatric problems,” “psychological illness” or “psychological problems,” “psychosis,” “insanity,” “crazy,” “hallucinations,” and “delusions” or “delusional.”. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry 6:19–39, 1995 Crossref, Google Scholar, 38 Granello D , Pauley P , Carmichael A : Relationship of the media to attitudes toward people with mental illness. We as a society eat this up. or 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.