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Addiction, stigma and movies

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Cape GS. Addiction, stigma and movies.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2003: 107: 163–169. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2003. Objective: 

To identify common character stereotypes of alcohol and other drug users as portrayed in motion pictures. Method: 

A selective review of a number of movies prominently portraying alcohol and other drug use and misuse. Results: 

The great majority of popular films portray alcohol and drug use whether as a routinized background, routinized foreground or exceptional foreground. Four main stereotypes of alcohol and other drug users appear to be prevalent – the tragic hero, the demonized user, the rebellious free spirit and the comedic user. A number of movies are selected which portray alcohol and other drug use as a prominent theme. Conclusion: 

Movies, as a medium for mass communication, have a powerful influence on the public and perpetuate popular mythologies regarding alcohol and other drug use.

Keywords: Substance related disorders; motion pictures; stereotyping

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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