The Glasgow Media Group, through a combination of media watching and group interviews, has confirmed the importance of media representations of mental illness, with its finding that negative images can outweigh even an individual's direct experiences in this area (Philo, 1996). In one recent summary, Philo concludes: “the results show clearly that ill-informed beliefs on, for example, the association of schizophrenia with violence can be traced directly to media accounts” (Philo, 1997). The origins and strength of this association can be traced to cinema, where powerful images of violent ‘insanity’ endure today. In a questionnaire of 487 people who had a family member with severe mental illness, 85.6% identified “popular movies about mentally ill killers” as the largest single contributor to the stigma of that illness (Wahl & Harman, 1989).
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