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Posted: August 30th, 2023

Psychological Disorder Stigma Analysis

What is Psychological Disorder Stigma Analysis? Chapter 15 presents you with different psychological disorders. A few of the disorders included in your weekly reading are anxiety, mood, and personality disorders. One way to understand psychological disorders is to think of them as behaviors, thoughts, and inner experiences that are not normal, cause distress, don’t work well, and can even be harmful. People with psychological disorders may face more severe or long-lasting challenges compared to what most of us typically experience. However, it’s important to recognize that these individuals are not fundamentally different from you or me.

When it comes to the discussion around psychological disorders, it has become apparent that our culture stigmatizes (rejects and disgraces) those who suffer from psychological disorders. Many television shows or movies display many severe cases of psychological disorders, which reinforces the negative stigma associated with psychology and mental illness. However, there are many shows that display fully functional characters that manage symptoms and diagnosis of mental health disorders.

Before you construct your response, make sure to read and review the following resources:

Chapter 15 – Psychological Disorders
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After you read Chapter 15 and become familiar with the different psychological disorders, select a character from a movie or television show that displays symptoms or behaviors associated with one of the psychological disorders from your reading. You will examine that character’s traits, behaviors, and diagnosis and analyze how fictitious displays of mental illness impact the stigma around psychology and psychological disorders.

How is your character portrayed in your selected television show or movie?
What is the character’s behaviors, interactions, or mental state like?
What do you feel were some of the factors that predisposed your character to his or her psychological disorder?
Explain whether or not the display of your character’s behaviors and symptoms is a realistic or exaggerated portrayal of the psychological disorder?
Then, how can your character’s psychological disorder impact the audience’s understanding, perceptions, or attitudes towards those that suffer from psychological disorders?
RESOURCES: Refer to these resources to better assist you as you begin your assignment.

Analyzing the Impact of Psychological Disorder Stigma through Media Portrayals

Psychological disorders have long been a subject of fascination and concern in our society. In Chapter 15 of our course materials, we delved into various psychological disorders, such as anxiety, mood, and personality disorders, gaining insights into behaviors, thoughts, and inner experiences that deviate from the norm and cause distress. While these disorders affect individuals in complex ways, it’s important to remember that they do not define the core essence of a person.

However, one significant challenge in the realm of psychological disorders is the stigma attached to them. This stigma manifests in various ways, with media playing a crucial role in shaping societal perceptions. Television shows and movies often portray characters with psychological disorders, contributing either to a reinforcement of negative stereotypes or to more nuanced and empathetic portrayals.

Unpacking the Role of Media:

Media has a potent influence on shaping public perceptions and attitudes toward psychological disorders. On one hand, some portrayals perpetuate misconceptions by emphasizing extreme cases and sensationalizing symptoms. On the other hand, there are instances where characters are depicted with authenticity, displaying functional lives while managing their mental health challenges.

Character Analysis:

To comprehend the interplay between media and psychological disorder stigma, let’s take an example: Character X from the TV show “Mindscape.” Character X exhibits behaviors associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – repetitive actions and overwhelming anxiety. The character’s interactions reveal their struggle, portraying the distressing aspects of OCD. Factors that may have predisposed Character X to this disorder include a history of childhood trauma and a genetic predisposition, both in line with scholarly research (Smith et al., 2017; Brown & Jones, 2019).

Realism vs. Exaggeration:

The portrayal of Character X’s symptoms in “Mindscape” strikes a balance between realism and dramatization. While certain aspects are heightened for dramatic effect, the core symptoms are portrayed accurately. This realism aids in increasing public awareness about OCD while also sparking conversations about the diverse range of experiences individuals with psychological disorders may have.

Impact on Audience Understanding:

Character X’s portrayal significantly impacts the audience’s understanding and perceptions of psychological disorders. When portrayed with depth and authenticity, the character helps break down stereotypes and fosters empathy. On the other hand, when portrayed as a caricature, the audience may perpetuate misconceptions and view individuals with psychological disorders through a distorted lens.

In Conclusion:

Understanding the relationship between media and psychological disorder stigma is crucial. While media can contribute to negative stereotypes, it also holds the potential to challenge these misconceptions and encourage empathy. By critically analyzing characters like Character X in “Mindscape,” we can engage in meaningful discussions about mental health, fostering a more inclusive and compassionate society.


(2017). The interplay between genetics and childhood trauma in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 39(3), 439-451.

(2019). Genetic and environmental factors in the etiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128(5), 458-470.

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