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A modified framework for identifying stigma: News coverage of persons with mental illness killed by police [2019]

This article examines the types of stigmatizing language and frames present in news reports about persons with mental illness killed by police. A sample of 301 online news reports was content analyzed, of which 132 reports contributed to 231 examples of stigmatizing language or frames. Analysis indicates that the construction of stigma in these news reports does not fully adhere to existing frameworks for identifying stigmatization. Stigmatization that is implicit, and often seemingly innocuous, is almost three times as common in the analyzed news reports than overt and explicit forms of stigmatization. A modified framework for identifying stigmatization is proposed that includes the presence of stigmatizing syntax, implicit stereotypes, stigmatizing myths, and behavior labeling. To the author’s knowledge, this study is the first to examine media stigmatization of persons with mental illness killed by police as well as explore stigmatization regarding suicide by cop. Implications of the findings for efforts to destigmatize mental illness are explored.

Frankham, E.
Stigma and Health, 4(1), 2019
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