Advertisement

Stigma of Addiction in the Media

  • Emma E. McGinty
  • Alene Kennedy-Hendricks
  • Colleen L. Barry
Chapter

Abstract

The media play a significant role in shaping stigmatizing attitudes toward populations experiencing health problems, including addiction. Research suggests that the media often depict individuals experiencing addiction, especially drug addiction, in a negative light. Most causal frames in the media have emphasized individual culpability in explaining addiction. Given that the news media are a key source of information about health issues for many Americans, such depictions likely contribute to widespread stigmatizing attitudes toward individuals with substance use disorders. In response, several promising efforts at correcting addiction stigma in the media are underway, including ones initiated by the Associated Press and by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy. Moreover, limited experimental research suggests that media narratives can be harnessed for good: messages that combine sympathetic depictions of individuals with substance use disorders with messages about societal barriers to treatment may work to reduce stigmatizing attitudes.

Keywords

Stigma Media Media depictions Stigmatizing language News Entertainment Substance use disorders 

References

  1. 1.
    Ashford RD, Brown AM, Curtis B. Substance use, recovery, and linguistics: the impact of word choice on explicit and implicit bias. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018;189:131.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Associated Press. The Associated Press stylebook. 2017. https://store.stylebooks.com/apstylebookonline.html. Accessed 26 Jan 2018.
  3. 3.
    Brodie M, Hamel EC, Altman DE, Blendon RJ, Benson JM. Health News and the American Public, 1996–2002. J Health Polit Policy Law. 2003;28(5):927–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cape GS. Addiction, stigma and movies. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2003;107(3):163–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chong D, Druckman JN. Framing theory. Annu Rev Polit Sci. 2007;10(1):103–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Connolly-Ahern C, Broadway SC. “To booze or not to booze?” newspaper coverage of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Sci Commun. 2008;29(3):362–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Corrigan P, Markowitz FE, Watson A, Rowan D, Kubiak MA. An attribution model of public discrimination towards persons with mental illness. J Health Soc Behav. 2003;44:162–79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Denham BE. Folk devils, news icons and the construction of moral panics: heroin chic and the amplification of drug threats in contemporary society. Journal Stud. 2008;9(6):945–61.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eguiagaray I, Scholz B, Giorgi C. Sympathy, shame, and few solutions: news media portrayals of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Midwifery. 2016;40:49–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Elliott AJ, Chapman S. ‘Heroin hell their own making’: construction of heroin users in the Australian press 1992–97. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2000;19(2):191–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fan DP. News media framing sets public opinion that drugs is the country’s most important problem. Subst Use Misuse. 1996;31(10):1413–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Frank LB, Murphy ST, Chatterjee JS, Moran MB, Baezconde-Garbanati L. Telling stories, saving lives: creating narrative health messages. Health Commun. 2015;30(2):154–63.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gollust SE, Niederdeppe J, Barry CL. Framing the consequences of childhood obesity to increase public support for obesity prevention policy. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(11):e96–e102.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gonzenbach W. A time-series analysis of the drug issue, 1985-1990: the press, the president, and Public Opinion. Int J Public Opin Res. 1992;4(2):126–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hamill R, Wilson T, Nisbett R. Insensitivity to sample bias: generalizing from atypical cases. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1980;39:578–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hanewinkel R, Sargent JD. Longitudinal study of exposure to entertainment media and alcohol use among German adolescents. Pediatrics. 2009;123(3):989–95.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hartman DM, Golub A. The social construction of the crack epidemic in the print media. J Psychoactive Drugs. 1999;31(4):423–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hughes CE, Lancaster K, Spicer B. How do Australian news media depict illicit drug issues? An analysis of print media reporting across and between illicit drugs, 2003–2008. Int J Drug Policy. 2011;22(4):285–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Iyengar S. Framing responsibility for political issues: the case of poverty. Polit Behav. 1990;12(1):19–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Iyengar S. Framing responsibility for political issues. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci. 1996;546:59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Jernigan D, Dorfman L. Visualizing America's drug problems: an ethnographic content analysis of illegal drug stories on the nightly news. Contemp Drug Probl. 1996;23(2):169–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kelly JF, Westerhoff CM. Does it matter how we refer to individuals with substance-related conditions? A randomized study of two commonly used terms. Int J Drug Policy. 2010;21(3):202–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kennedy-Hendricks A, McGinty EE, Barry CL. Effects of competing narratives on public perceptions of opioid pain reliever addiction during pregnancy. J Health Polit Policy Law. 2016;  https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-3632230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kosovski JR, Smith DC. Everybody hurts: addiction, drama, and the family in the reality television show intervention. Subst Use Misuse. 2011;46(7):852–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Link B, Phelan JC, Bresnaham M, Stueve A, Pescosolido BA. Public conceptions of mental illness: labels, causes, dangerousness, and social distance. Am J Public Health. 1999;89(9):1328–33.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    MacKenzie R, Chapman S, Holding S. Framing responsibility: coverage of lung cancer among smokers and non-smokers in Australian television news. Aust N Z J Public Health. 2011;35(1):66–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    McGinty E, Goldman H, Pescosolido B, Barry C. Portraying mental illness and drug addiction as treatable health conditions: effects of a randomized experiment on stigma and discrimination. Soc Sci Med. 2015;126:73–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    McGinty EE, Kennedy-Hendricks A, Baller J, Niederdeppe J, Gollust S, Barry CL. Criminal activity or treatable health condition? News media framing of opioid analgesic abuse in the United States, 1998–2012. Psychiatr Serv. 2015;67(4):405–11.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Murphy ST, Frank LB, Chatterjee JS, Baezconde-Garbanati L. Narrative versus nonnarrative: the role of identification, transportation, and emotion in reducing health disparities. J Commun. 2013;63(1):116–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Netherland J, Hansen HB. The war on drugs that wasn’t: wasted whiteness,“Dirty Doctors,” and race in media coverage of prescription opioid misuse. Cult Med Psychiatry. 2016;40(4):664–86.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Nicholls J. UK news reporting of alcohol: an analysis of television and newspaper coverage. Drugs Edu Prev Policy. 2011;18(3):200–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Niederdeppe J, Heley K, Barry CL. Inoculation and narrative strategies in competitive framing of three health policy issues. J Commun. 2015;65(5):838–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Niederdeppe J, Shapiro MA, Kim HK, Bartolo D, Porticella N. Narrative persuasion, causality, complex integration, and support for obesity policy. Health Commun. 2014;29(5):431–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
  35. 35.
    Phillips LA, Shaw A. Substance use more stigmatized than smoking and obesity. J Subst Abus. 2013;18(4):247–53.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Poynter Institute. Covering the opioid crisis. 2017. https://www.poynter.org/news/how-address-challenges-covering-opioid-epidemic. Accessed 11 July 2018.
  37. 37.
    Sargent JD, Beach ML, Adachi-Mejia AM, Gibson JJ, Titus-Ernstoff LT, Carusi CP, Swain SD, Heatherton TF, Dalton MA. Exposure to movie smoking: its relation to smoking initiation among US adolescents. Pediatrics. 2005;116(5):1183–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Scheufele DA, Tewksbury D. Framing, agenda setting, and priming: the evolution of three media effects models. J Commun. 2007;57(1):9–20.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Schneider A, Ingram H. Social construction of target populations: implications for politics and policy. Am Polit Sci Rev. 1993;87(2):334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Smith KC, Twum D, Gielen AC. Media coverage of celebrity DUIs: teachable moments or problematic social modeling? Alcohol & alcoholism. 2009;44(3):256–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    The Carter Center. Carter Center releases national journalism guide for reporting on behavioral health. 2015. https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/journalism-guide-behavioral-health-reporting.html. Accessed 18 Mar 2017.
  42. 42.
    The Carter Center (2017). The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. https://www.cartercenter.org/health/mental_health/fellowships/, Accessed March 18, 2017.
  43. 43.
    Weiner B. On sin versus sickness: a theory of perceived responsibility and social motivation. Am Psychol. 1993;48(9):957.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Weiner B, Perry RP, Magnusson J. An attributional analysis of reactions to stigmas. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1988;55(5):738.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Zillman D, Brosius H. Exemplification in communication: the influence of case reports on the perception of issues. London: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates; 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma E. McGinty
    • 1
  • Alene Kennedy-Hendricks
    • 1
  • Colleen L. Barry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Policy and ManagementJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations