From Sin to Sickness: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Four Major American Newpapers' Representations of Alcoholism
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AbstractFrom Sin to Sickness: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Four Major American Newspapers' Representation of AlcoholismByAmy PlattSchool of Social Welfare The purpose of this study is to explore how four major American newspapers represent alcoholism. These newspapers are: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal. Articles were collected over a five year period (2004-2008) using a constructed, random sample. The principal research questions are: (1) How do different newspapers portray alcoholism?, (2) How much emphasis do the articles place on the moral model of addiction? (3) How much emphasis do the articles place on the disease model of addiction? (4) What, other models, if any, are presented in the articles? A qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the data. Through coding, pattern-coding matrices, and a thematic meta-matrix, overall themes were constructed. Findings suggest that the disease model of alcoholism is underrepresented in the data, whereas the public health and the moral models of addiction are prevalent."Socio-moral continuity" is the overarching theoretical construct developed to explain why the disease model of addiction dominates the scientific, medical, and therapeutic communities yet scarcely appears in major print media. The persistence of the moral model of alcoholism in major American print media, and its impact on public opinion, promotes punishment initiatives and hinders policy and program developments that might support prevention and treatment initiatives.