Effect of Knowledge and Media Portrayal of Mental Illness
Investigate the effect of prior knowledge of mental illness (3 levels: low, medium or high) and different media portrayals (3 levels: film, documentary or control) of mental illness on viewer’s attitudes towards mental illness.
Bandura’s (1974) social learning theory suggests that a person’s knowledge of mental illness and attitudes towards mental illness may be influenced by portrayals of mental illness in the media. This study aimed to investigate the effect of prior knowledge of mental illness (low, medium or high) and different media portrayals of mental illness (film, documentary, or control) on viewer’s attitudes towards mental illness. Fifty-five participants completed the MAKS Mental Health Knowledge Schedule after which they viewed a portrayal of mental illness from either a documentary, a film or a control and completed the CAMI Community Attitudes towards Mental Illness scale.
A two-way between groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyse the data. There was no significant difference for participants in their attitudes towards mental illness based on their knowledge of mental illness (low, medium or high) or the portrayal of mental illness (documentary, film or control) viewed. However, there was a significant interaction effect between knowledge of mental illness and portrayal of mental illness viewed for participants’ on their attitudes towards mental illness.