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Media Depictions: Disability

  • By: Margaret M. Quinlan
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Mass media function as sites through which social issues are considered and negotiated. Scholars across fields have focused on media portrayals of people with disabilities (PWD). Because many individuals have little or no interaction or communication with PWD, they gain their knowledge of PWD from mass media. Scholars have examined disability representations in newspapers, print and online media, photographs, children's books, films, television shows, news, cartoons, the arts, sporting events, and advertising. Media play an important role in helping shape the understanding people have of the world around them, particularly people of whom they have no previous knowledge. A number of theories have been posted to help explain media's capacity to shape or craft views and attitudes. Some of these are minimal effects, magic ...

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