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:7/24/2017)... ... , ... “Journey to the Light: The Quest for Happiness and Love. . ... to finding herself. “Journey to the Light: The Quest for Happiness and Love. ... writer of newsletters, manuals, and articles, who has recently decided to expand her literary ...
(Date:7/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 23, 2017 , ... A ... in St. Louis, and led by the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Health Care System overwhelmingly ... of the disease offers very few benefits. , In the cases involved with ...
(Date:7/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... Technology is making it easier for ... tools are helping patients become more actively involved in their care and maintaining ... survey, released today by the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Health Forum. , According ...
(Date:7/23/2017)... ... July 23, 2017 , ... Viora Ltd., a ... US Patent No. 9,038,640 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The ... combination of Switching, Vacuum, and Cooling mechanisms to further increase the efficacy and ...
(Date:7/21/2017)... ... July 21, 2017 , ... "As a doctor of lung medicine ... catheters available on the market," said an inventor from Center Valley, Pa. "My idea ... the patient." , He developed the patent-pending PLEURAL SAFE-t-STAT CATHETER KIT to offer an ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/11/2017)... 11, 2017  The global market for liquid biopsy ... $394.1 million in 2016.  Although in early stages, the ... in particular as a result of the gradual shift ... recent introduction of a significant number of new liquid ... of tumor biomarkers to guide treatment decisions. ...
(Date:7/10/2017)... , July 10, 2017 The Institute for ... methods, is the recipient of a VITROCELL® inhalation exposure ... International Science Consortium. The device, which is designed to ... expose human lung cells to airborne test materials in ... use the VITROCELL® system for testing combustible tobacco products, ...
(Date:7/5/2017)... 5, 2017 Wolfmet 3D  printed tungsten collimator manufactured by ... and manufacturing combine to progress molecular radiotherapy imaging. ... are unable to accurately quantify the radiation absorbed by those ... the success of this radiotherapy treatment has been available — ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: