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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2015 Feb;61(1):58-63. doi: 10.1177/0020764014535757. Epub 2014 May 27.

Depictions of auditory verbal hallucinations in news media.

Author information

1
Psychology Department, Felician College, Lodi, NJ, USA vilhauerr@felician.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The characterization of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), diverges from recent research literature, which demonstrates the occurrence of AVH in individuals who are psychologically healthy. This discrepancy raises the question of how the public perceives AVH. Public perceptions are important because they could potentially affect how individuals with AVH interpret these experiences and how people view voice hearers.

AIMS:

Because media portrayals can provide a window into how phenomena are viewed by the public, an archival study of newspaper articles was carried out to examine depictions of AVH.

METHODS:

A sample of 181 newspaper articles originating in the United States was analyzed using a content analysis approach.

RESULTS:

The majority of articles examined contained no suggestion that AVH are possible in psychologically healthy individuals. Most articles suggested that AVH were a symptom of mental illness, and many suggested that AVH were associated with criminal behavior, violence and suicidality.

CONCLUSION:

The news media examined tended to present a misleading and largely pathologizing view of AVH. More research is needed to shed light on how, and to what extent, public perceptions may influence those who experience AVH.

KEYWORDS:

Voice hearing; auditory verbal hallucination; media; psychosis; schizophrenia; stigma

PMID:
24869852
DOI:
10.1177/0020764014535757
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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