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Media Representation of Personality Disorder in Jamaica – Public Scholarship as a Catalyst of Health Promotion



Objective: To ascertain whether the public scholarship of the epidemiology of personality disorder (PD) in Jamaica prompted a health promotion outcome.

Methods: A January 2011 to December 2012 trawl of news media articles linking ‘PD’ to published public scholarship articles on the epidemiology of PD recorded titles and contents of the reports that were culled to capture the emotional responses and psychological defence mechanisms expressed. These were analysed with concomitant social, psychological or behavioural activities occurring in Jamaica, using SPSS version 17 software.

Results: Two public scholarship interventions to two major broadsheet newspapers triggered 25 contributed articles, which in turn prompted 160 responses from the public, five commentaries on leading radio stations and four Internet blogs. One hundred and sixty-six (84.2%) of the titles targeted PD in the Jamaican nation; 31 (13.7) articles targeted PD in leaders, athletes, inmates, individuals, families and productivity in Jamaica. One hundred and fifty-five (79.1%) expressed agreement with the scientific epidemiological observations, while 20.9% (n = 41) expressed disagreement. Eighty-two (41.8%) of the responses expressed rationalizations, 47 (24%) were expressions of reaction formation, 27 (13.8%) were in frank denial, while 25 (12.8%) were expressing open acting out responses or blunt projection (15, 7.7%) to the published epidemiology. The difference between 139 (70.9%) popular media responses to contemporary social problems and 57 (29.1%) reports that made no reference to social problems was statistically significant (p < 0.03).

Conclusions: The hypothesis that public scholarship reports prompted a popular media response, generating a health promotion outcome linking contemporary social events to this medical research is confirmed.

01 Jun, 2013
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e-Published: 26 Aug, 2013
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