Mood Disorder



Find and read/listen/watch two mainstream media sources that clearly focus on one specific psychological disorder covered in this course. Examples of such sources include but are not limited to: Media report/Newspaper or Magazine Article/Movie/TV episode/Radio broadcast. Make sure you pick two different types of source (e.g., a movie and a newspaper article, a television show or episode(s) and radio show, etc. Do not pick two of the same general type of mainstream media sources (i.e., two newspaper articles, two movies, two episodes from a television show, even a movie and tv episode should be avoided). Blogs and personal websites should also be avoided.

There are mainstream media sources out there that represent issues or aspects of particular mental disorders accurately. But if that were the general state of things there would be considerably less stigma about mental illness than there actually is in our society. In actuality, there is considerable misrepresentation and misunderstanding in the mainstream media about mental illness. So one task for this course paper is to actually recognise mainstream media sources that reinforce or perpetuate factual errors, pseudoscience, or scientifically baseless information that give rise to stigma in order to critique such representations with reference to scientific sources. To pick examples of adequate (or even excellent) representations in mainstream media sources would render your course paper very weak, given this objective.

Having said that, there are some newspaper/magazine articles and some movies that provide some good examples of both similarities/consistencies with the scientific literature and differences/discrepancies (as voiced, for example, by some of the characters in certain movies). As such, some of these sources might be appropriate choices for your paper, given that you could critically discuss these similarities and differences with regard to scientific articles.

You also need to read three scholarly journal articles on the same psychological disorder (these should be peer reviewed, published articles in the professional/academic literature – the textbook cannot be counted as one of these three but you should discuss material from the textbook as well in your paper). You will have to search the scientific literature in order to find three articles that help you make your arguments.

In your essay, make sure you include critical comments about the representations in each source where appropriate, specifically focusing on the differences between the scholarly and mainstream representations of that disorder.

A main objective here is to recognise how unscientific or pseudoscientific and otherwise factually incorrect representations of psychological disorders can contribute to stigma. So you should explicitly discuss the issue of stigmatization as it pertains to your chosen disorder and its representations in your chosen two mainstream media sources.

One way to go about doing this is to identify about 5 points of interest (maybe one or two points on clinical presentation, one or two on etiology, and one or two on treatment, for example) regarding your disorder in the mainstream media sources you have chosen. In your paper discuss these as either being similar to/consistent with… or different from/inconsistent with… the scientific understanding of the disorder as represented in one or more of your three chosen scholarly journal articles. Remember to focus heavily on differences/inconsistencies. You should get some of your points of interest from each of your chosen mainstream media sources but you don’t need to make sure both sources are consistent with each other. Similarly, you should draw on all three of your chosen scholarly sources, not just one or two of them.

You do not need to compare and contrast the two mainstream media sources with each other (or the scholarly sources with each other – i.e., no ‘within-source’ comparisons are necessary). You could note something that is highly similar or dissimilar between the two mainstream media sources but do not focus too much on those – the 1,500 word limit means you should make sure your comparisons between the two types of sources (mainstream media sources vs. scholarly journal articles) is where you spend most of your time/words.

All this means you have to choose your two mainstream media sources and three scholarly journal articles in terms of the material they give you to work with.

You must correctly use in-text citations and give full references in a Reference section for both your mainstream media sources and your scholarly journal articles. Correctly list all your references (including the textbook, which does not count as one of your three scholarly journal articles) on a final Reference page using the APA format (references are not included as part of the 1,500 total word count). Guidance in preparing your in-text citations and references for a wide range of sources using APA format can be found via the links included in the Help document also posted for this assignment.

the textbook:
Barlow, D. H., Durand, V. M. Stewart, S. H. & Lalumière, M. L. (2015). Abnormal psychology: An integrative approach. Fourth Canadian Edition. Toronto, ON: Nelson.