Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

Schizophrenia in Hollywood Movies


Elsayed MA

The mentally ill individuals have been significantly portrayed in contemporary Hollywood movies. However, literature claims that their awareness to these individuals has not led to positive outcomes because of the extent to which they are stereotyped and negatively presented in movies. This research analyzes twelve movies that are chosen as non-randomly based on the reviews written on them. These movies portray schizophrenic patients between the years 2000- 2012 through quantitative content analysis based on a number of criteria such as demographics, symptoms consistent with DSM-IV-TR, unpredictable behavior, causation and treatment. Surprisingly, 11 out of the 12 movies had schizophrenic patients who were white Americans with either high medium or low socioeconomic status. Delusions and hallucinations were present in all twelve movies (no other positive symptoms were found) and in eight out of twelve movies the patient did not present acts of violence but 10 of the movies showed the character as behaving aggressively. In five out of twelve movies the patient had an exceptional talent and one out of the twelve movies showed that patients got schizophrenia because of a genetic predisposition while seven out of twelve movies showed that the character got the illness because of psychological trauma. It was not mentioned how the patients got the illness in the other four movies. Regarding the treatment that patients received. Moreover, five movies portrayed their patients to be treated by both psychotherapy and medicines while one movie portrayed them as treated with medications alone. In the other six movies there was no reference to the type of treatment that the patients received.


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