This paper describes the portrayal of HIV/AIDS in 14 mass print newspapers directed towards the Canadian Aboriginal population and published between 1996 and 2000. Based on qualitative content analysis the research examines both manifest and latent meanings. Manifest results of this study indicate that women and youth are under represented as persons with HIV/AIDS. The latent results note the frequent references to Aboriginal culture, and the political and economic position of Aboriginal Canadians when discussing the disease, the person with the disease, the fear of the disease and the reaction of the community to the person with the disease. Unlike mainstream media where the medical frame is dominant, HIV/AIDS are here contextualized by culture, identity, spirituality and political-economic issues.
Cancer is increasing in incidence and prevalence in North America and around the world. The mass print media play an important role in information provision about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease, as well as informing health policy and personal experience. This paper reports on a content analysis of the portrayal of cancer in the highest circulating magazines available in Canada and published in Canada or the USA in 1991, 1996, 2001. It includes both manifest and latent analysis of the framing and content of cancer stories. Manifest analysis documented the dominance of the medical as compared to the lifestyle and political economy frames and the predominance of articles on breast as compared to other cancers. Latent themes included: an emphasis on fear of cancer in that: (1) cancer and fear are frequently conflated; cancer is said to grow outside of awareness; cancer is portrayed as (almost) inevitable; cancer is associated with normal experiences; early detection is associated with diagnosis; and scary statistics are emphasized; (2) contradictions and confusion exist within and between articles; and (3) metaphors of war and battle are used frequently. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the linking of fear with cancer in the context of medicine as the solution.
Alzheimer's disease is growing in incidence and prevalence in the developed world. Rates have been increasing as populations have been aging. There are still many unknowns regarding prevention, causes, and treatments. The purpose of this article is to analyze the portrayal of Alzheimer's in the highest-circulation mass print English-language magazines published in the United States and Canada over a period of a decade, specifically those for 1991, 1996, and 2001. This research investigates the portrayal of persons with Alzheimer's, the disease itself, caregivers and experts, and the dominant frames or discourses within which Alzheimer's is described. Twenty-five articles from the highest-circulation mass print magazines available in Canada were studied through qualitative and inductive research of both manifest and latent content. One of the most notable findings is the absence of the person with the disease as a person with a voice, with needs and desires. When the disease itself is described it is characterized as fearsome, relentless, and aggressive. Both the unquestioned duty of the individual caregiver and his or her (usually the caregiver is a woman) suffering are emphasized. The disease, its diagnosis, and potential treatments are framed almost exclusively within a medical rather than a political-economy or lifestyle frame. Minimal attention is paid to prevention, early stages of the disease, social support, options for care, or other alternative understandings of issues related to Alzheimer's. The theoretical and practical significance of these findings is considered.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to describe the coverage and portrayal of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) risk factors as framed in newspaper targeting Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) peoples in canada. METHODS: From a sample of 31 Aboriginal newspapers published in English from 1996 to 2000, 14 newspapers were randomly selected. Of 167 articles published on HIV/AIDS during this time period, all anecdotal (n=34) and an approximate 25% random sample of scientific (n=32) articles were analyzed using both quantitative (coding reliability and frequencies) and qualitative (in-depth content analysis) analyses. RESULTS: Individual risk factors for HIV/AIDS were described in 74%, (49/66) of the articles and included unprotected sexual intercourse (20/49 or 41%), sharing of needles for injection drug use (IDU; 16/49 or 33%), infected blood transfusions (3/49 or 6%), and vertical transmission from mother to a baby (10/49 or 20%). Additional risk factors of alcohol use and poverty were mentioned in 29% and 25% of the articles. In addition to the well-recognized HIV/AIDS risk groups of prostitutes and homosexual men, sexual abuse victims, prisoners, and women were identified in aboriginal newspapers as being at risk. Although Aboriginal women were identified as being at high risk, the newspaper coverage also emphasized their lack of knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS. Heterosexual men were not mentioned as being at risk for HIV/AIDS in the newspaper articles. BACKGROUND: The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is higher among Canadian Aboriginals than in the general population. Local and community newspapers are an important channels for the dissemination of health information for isolated, rural, and aboriginal communities. INTERPRETATION: The findings show that Aboriginal media identify high-risk groups and individualistic risk factors for HIV/AIDS within a public health perspective.
Home healthcare work, involving physical labor, nursing care, medical monitoring, administrative, planning and accounting, advocacy and emotion work, is unpaid and largely invisible. This article, based on focus group interviews with mothers whose children have had cancer, describes one part of their home healthcare labor, their emotion work. Specifically, it examines how mothers: manage the moral imperatives of mothering; think about and try to manage the strong feelings, particularly of fear and uncertainty that they often have when their children are ill with cancer; work to understand and maintain their marital relationships; the strategies that seemed to help; and finally, the self-transformation that many mothers experience. The article concludes with a discussion of the substantive, theoretical, research, and policy implications of emotion work in the provision of home healthcare work.
A number of studies have found an association between what people see, hear and read in the mass media and their corresponding actions and beliefs. This link has been demonstrated both at the micro and at the macro levels of analysis. However, when people are asked directly about the impact of mass media they tend to deny that they are personally affected. In fact, they tend to describe themselves as critical and skeptical media consumers. The purpose of this paper is to explore this contradiction through 12 in-depth focus group discussions undertaken in Ontario, Canada in 2004. Findings from the focus group interviews confirm earlier research in that people claimed that they were not susceptible to media influence. At the same time as they said that they took information from the mass media "with a grain of salt", they articulated sophisticated and nuanced accounts of how and why they evaluated some information as good and some as bad. In general they evaluated media stories on the basis of the values of allopathic medicine and positivistic science. Moreover, in the context of the focus groups and their explicit comments on their skepticism, they discussed health information from the magazine articles that they were given to read (on either HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, or a heart disease). Possible explanations for these paradoxical findings are discussed.
Twenty-nine parents of children who had been diagnosed with cancer were interviewed through long and relatively unstructured interviews conducted via telephone by a mother whose own daughter once had cancer. Parents were asked to tell the story of their experiences during the time that they were 'going through' cancer. Parents usually began their narrative in the months, weeks, or days prior to the diagnosis. They spoke of various parts of the story. In this paper, the focus is on one topic that parents talked about a lot. We call this 'problems with the system' or 'surplus suffering.' Here parents reported on their perceptions of mistakes, and delays in diagnosis, errors, carelessness, and unkindness during treatment. They talked of how they felt they had to be on constant guard, and at times, to intervene in their child's care. This paper provides a picture of parental expectations and their violation during the treatment of their children for cancer. It begins to demonstrate how parents see themselves as advocates for their children in a context of fragile power relations.
Mainstream magazines and other media have been found to both reflect and influence existing values and beliefs regarding health and medicine. Little is known about how media directed toward specific cultural or other market groups may differ. The present study examined how HIV and AIDS are portrayed within a specific ethnocultural medium, the two highest circulating magazines directed toward African American and African Canadian readers. The portrayal of HIV/AIDS from January 1997 to October 2001 in Ebony and Essence magazines was examined through manifest and latent content analysis. African American people were described paradoxically both as powerless victims in the face of the disease and as members of a strong and identifiable community of "sisters" and "brothers" available to respond to prevent and cope with the disease. Polarization between Blacks and Whites was accomplished by frequent emphasis on the higher rates of HIV/AIDS amongst Black Americans. Both the church and spirituality were highlighted as means of prevention education and coping.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a relatively new disease that is difficult to diagnose. It is also a contested disease immersed in dispute about whether it is a physical or psychiatric reality. Sufferers often claim to experience not only the physical challenges of the disease, and these can be extensive, but also, initially, the anomie of suffering from a condition whose very reality is debated both in the medical and in the wider communities. Theories of self in illness emphasize how people who are diagnosed as chronically ill work hard as they seek to maintain previous, or to develop supernormal, selves. Such goals are cast in a critical light by Foucault's notion of the technologies of self in the context of circulating neo-liberal discourses. As people with CFS, lacking an uncontested medical diagnosis, search for meaningful self-identities, they resist previously available discourses to take up an alternative discourse, one that we call radicalized selves. This paper raises questions about the constraints and liberties, power and powerlessness associated with a clear and undisputed medical diagnosis. It suggests a model of the self in chronic illness that considers not only changes in body and biography but also the availability of an uncontested diagnosis.