Comparison of British national newspaper coverage of homicide committed by perpetrators with and without mental illness

Kalucy, Megan, Rodway, Cathryn, Finn, Judith, Pearson, Anna, Flynn, Sandra, Swinson, Nicola, Roscoe, Alison, Da Cruz, Damian, Appleby, Louis and Shaw, Jenny (2011) Comparison of British national newspaper coverage of homicide committed by perpetrators with and without mental illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 45 7: 539-548. doi:10.3109/00048674.2011.585605


Author Kalucy, Megan
Rodway, Cathryn
Finn, Judith
Pearson, Anna
Flynn, Sandra
Swinson, Nicola
Roscoe, Alison
Da Cruz, Damian
Appleby, Louis
Shaw, Jenny
Title Comparison of British national newspaper coverage of homicide committed by perpetrators with and without mental illness
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8674
1440-1614
Publication date 2011-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3109/00048674.2011.585605
Open Access Status
Volume 45
Issue 7
Start page 539
End page 548
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: Adverse newspaper reporting of mental illness and in particular, violence committed by a mentally ill person, is thought to contribute to stigma. However, violent events are also considered highly newsworthy by journalists. The aim of this study was to compare the likelihood of newspaper reporting for convicted perpetrators of homicide with and without a history of contact with mental health services.

Method: A 12 month (April 2000-March 2001) cohort of 577 homicide perpetrators with and without a history of contact with mental health services in England and Wales was examined. These cases were identified by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. By examining 12 national newspapers, we compared the likelihood of reporting homicide perpetrators with and without mental illness.

Results: Under half (228 cases, 40%) of the homicide perpetrators were reported in at least one of the study newspapers. Under a fifth (94 cases, 16%) of perpetrators had a history of contact with mental health services and such previous contact did not increase the likelihood of newspaper reporting (odds ratio 1.0 (0.6–1.6)).

Conclusions: Previous contact with mental health services did not influence the newsworthiness of a homicide perpetrator. The stigmatizing effect of reporting homicide by perpetrators with mental illness may relate more to the quality of reporting rather than selective over-reporting. 
Keyword Homicide
Mental illness
Media
Stigma
Newspaper reporting
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 17 Jul 2014, 09:08:56 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work