Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Julie Volkman

Second Faculty Advisor

Judith McDonnell


bipolar disorder; media; entertainment media; stigma


Bryant University

Rights Management



This is a literature review of empirical research. This literature review provides an overview of how mental health conditions, specifically bipolar disorder, are depicted in the media (television and movies) by examining relevant empirical research. The review also includes how stigmas are perpetuated in these media depictions.

This literature review included an extensive review of published literature in the past 50 years about mental health and bipolar disorder depictions in media (television and movies). Studies were included for their relevance on mental health conditions generally, and any specifics related to bipolar disorder. Studies were read for key statements about stigmas, application of media effects perspectives and how depictions informed audiences about mental health.

The literature review highlights that many of the media depictions of those with mental health conditions, and bipolar disorder, are negative. The media relies upon negative stereotypes of those with mental health disorders, which in turn leads to negatively informed perceptions by viewers.

There is a need to educate the media about bipolar disorder and mental health conditions. Improving mental health depictions in the media could help reduce stigmas associated with mental health.