The Use of Media by African American Women to Acquire Mental Health Knowledge
Type of DegreeDissertation
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The study investigated the use of media by African American women to acquire knowledge to “help with life problems.” Participants self-reported their use of television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet in acquiring such information, and also reported on their sharing of this information among their female support systems. Participants were 102 self-identified African American women. Nearly all of the women (93%) lived in inner city neighborhoods. Ages ranged from 19 to 82. These African American women reported frequently utilizing the media to acquire mental health knowledge, and also reported passing this information through their networks of female friends and family. Magazines and television were used more often than the other media to help with life problems. Magazines were used by 79% of the sample and television was used by 74% of the sample. Many women in this sample reported using ideas gained from television (28%) and magazines (18%) on a daily basis. The Oprah Winfrey show was endorsed as one of the most watched television programs (61%). In terms of specific magazines read, Ebony magazine (55%), Essence magazine (52%) and Jet magazine (48%) were endorsed most often. Given that only 25% of this sample had ever seen a therapist, but the vast majority had used television or magazines to gain mental health related information, it is strongly suggested that psychologists make greater efforts to reach this demographic through the use of these media.