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:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , which specializes in ... the facility as part of a disaster drill on October 3rd. , Apple Rehab ... City Emergency Manager, as well as the Connecticut Long Term Care Mutual Aid ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting ... Day Market. Featuring a collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the ... and quality-focused health and wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s ... Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... viewers the lowdown on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which ... current events and innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: ... faced every danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From ... Carole is a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)...   West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE: WST), ... administration, today shared the results of a study highlighting ... intradermal administration of polio vaccines. The study results were ... 2017 by Dr. Ondrej Mach , Clinical Trials ... (WHO), and recently published in the journal Vaccine. ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza vaccination should take ... communities across Massachusetts , Connecticut , ... through the end of the month. *Some exclusions apply ... ... by the end of October, according to the Centers for Disease Control ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Fla. , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens ... company formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime ... its new brand, which included the unveiling of new ... , as well as at a few other ... the new brand to patients, some of whom will ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: