Navigation Links
Children with asthma marginalized in movies, says Rutgers-Camden researcher
Date:6/12/2012

CAMDEN This summer, superheroes like Spider-Man, Batman, and even Snow White will showcase their staggering strengths on the big screen.

A RutgersCamden professor says that children with asthma are the real-life superheroes, facing down breathlessness and operating life-saving devices whenever and wherever asthma attacks strike.

Cindy Dell Clark, who teaches anthropology at RutgersCamden, recently published research that analyzes Hollywood's portrayal of children with asthma in the journal Medical Anthropology Quarterly.

According to Clark, Hollywood often depicts children with asthma, the leading chronic illness of U.S. children, as vulnerable characters, not heroes. Showcasing asthma as a form of weakness adds drama to action films and levity to comedies. The habit of stereotyping asthma in movies, her research suggests, should be rethought by Hollywood and its writers.

Clark says the media, as well as other social contexts like school and peers, matter significantly for how the 9% of Americans under 18 with asthma view their illness and commit to its treatment. Adherence to medication for severe asthma, which requires steady attention and consistent relationships with physicians to monitor symptoms, can fall short among children and adolescents.

"Asthma is not a telethon disease," Clark quotes a mother of a child with asthma in her studies. "People don't understand the nature of a child suffering with asthma," adds the RutgersCamden researcher. "As a society, we don't want to pay attention; we don't want to face up to the fact that inhaling the air around us, including polluted air, can impede breathing and sometimes life."

In her research, 66 films that dramatized asthma were analyzed, including Goonies, Toy Story 2, As Good As It Gets, Signs, and Without A Paddle. The analysis revealed four main ways of stereotyping asthma: implying that the character with asthma is wimpy; that asthmatic breathing is how a person with asthma reacts under stress; that if a child would just exert enough willpower, asthma can be overcome; and in a couple of movies, that the character can attack their enemies through asthma, such as using an inhaler as a weapon.

"None of these stereotypes have medical backing," notes Clark, who points out that when asthmatic children experience an attack, time and again remain calm. For instance, children have to convince the teacher that they need to get their inhaler (from the school nurse), all while calmly enduring poor breathing until they obtain relief. "If asthma was so widely psychosomatic, as movies imply, it would not be so pronounced in geographic areas of extreme air pollution," she adds.

To learn how children react to movie scenes with asthma, Clark interviewed children ages 9-12, including kids with asthma and kids who were the best friends of asthmatic children. Clark's research shows that stereotypes in movies do influence healthy kids to believe that asthma is stress-induced, even though their asthmatic friend shows otherwise. The research also showed that children with asthma resented the way their illness was depicted and worried that what they saw was a harbinger of stigma and unfair treatment.

The RutgersCamden researcher says that asthmatics' use in movie narratives has been a plot element as early as 1943 in the film Song of Bernadette. She's also seen several movies and television shows utilizing asthmatic stereotypes since her study was concluded.

"Asthma is an extremely common and very frightening condition. My own ethnographic research shows the troubles and necessary courage children with asthma have. It is too bad that movie scripts fall back on a lazy writer's stereotype so often, and depict asthma as worth being stigmatized."


'/>"/>
Contact: Cathy Donovan
catkarm@camden.rutgers.edu
856-225-6627
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Save the Children report shows global health funding often ignores newborn babies
2. Illnesses in Colorado childrens hospital prompts discovery of contaminated alcohol pads
3. Avatars may help children with social anxiety overcome fears
4. Despite less play, childrens use of imagination increases over 2 decades
5. Chemicals in PVC Flooring Can Be Absorbed Into Childrens Bodies: Study
6. Routine care for Crohns disease in children should include measurement of bone age
7. New initiative aims to increase mobility for disabled children worldwide
8. Children failing asthma therapy may have severe asthma with fungal sensitization
9. Baseline characteristics of children with mild persistent asthma predict response to ICS
10. Study evaluates use of inhaled saline for young children with cystic fibrosis
11. Study says children exposed to tobacco smoke face long-term respiratory problems
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Stephanie Hebert Insurance Agency, ... of a new charity campaign. As part of their ongoing community involvement program, ... the belief that children deserve a voice, and in the spirit of neighbors ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... A man who has struggled to quit ... Freedom Laser Therapy , was determined to find solutions to his problems – and he ... Inventors Digest is ready to introduce his breakthrough inventions to the world and better ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... are too much to handle, you are not alone. According to the Center for ... include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... Steve Helwig ... with a vital new community enrichment program, has teamed up with Citizens Opposed to ... children suffering from intimate abuse. To support all those victimized by the fear of ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Local insurance agency Dennis ... FL area, has initiated a fundraiser for a two year old little girl ... after Christmas. To support this beautiful child who is facing life’s journey without ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... new report "Global Diagnostic Ultrasound Devices Market Assessment & Forecast: 2015-2019" ... diagnostic ultrasound devices market was valued at US$ 5,381.1 million in ... at a CAGR of 6.8% from 2015 to 2019. The ... for six geographies of North America , ... Latin America , Middle-East and ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... The global prefilled syringes market accounted for $3,905.1 million ... with a CAGR of 12.9% during 2015-2020. Among the ... global prefilled syringes market, with 90.1% share in 2014. ... global market of prefilled syringes is up surging with ... demand for vaccines, increasing prevalence of chronic and lifestyle ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... report "Global Blood Monitoring & Cardiac Monitoring Devices Market Assessment & ... that global market for blood monitoring & cardiac monitoring devices was ... to US$ 24,830.1 million by 2019 at a CAGR of 6.8% ... Europe , Asia-Pacific , ... Africa . The three major factors determining growth ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: