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Mental Health Journalism Fellowship Evaluation

 

Investigators: Patrick W. Corrigan and Karina J. Powell

 

The purpose of this research study was to evaluate the effects of representative media pieces created by a Mental Health Journalism Fellowship.  The mission of the journalism fellowship is to develop materials for consumption by the general public that do not use stigmatizing images of people with mental illness. The primary research objective was to assess the impact that these media pieces have on the public stigma of mental illness through quantitative assessment in an intervention and a control group.  Two hundred study participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions, two written journalism pieces from the MHJF (one chosen to represent a highly stigmatizing article and the other chosen to represent a low stigmatizing article), one outside journalism article (selected for its journalistic sensitivity), and a no-intervention control condition.  Stigmatizing and affirming attitudes were assessed pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at one week follow-up.  Results indicated a statistically significant difference on a measure of coercion between the highly stigmatizing fellowship article and the outside journalism article, with the group exposed to the former scoring worse.  With regard to goal orientation, recovery, and empowerment, the outside journalism article condition showed significantly better attitudes than the MHJF highly stigmatizing condition.