The topic of this research is mental illness’ representation in film and how it has perpetuated negative stigma towards persons afflicted with mental disorders. Beginning in the 1950s and spanning to the 2010s, two films from each decade are analyzed based on portrayals of mental illness as well as cinematic techniques used to accentuate disorders either visually or with audio cues and music. Research looks at whether depictions match diagnostic criteria and if depictions work to continue harmful stereotypes and prejudices or if accuracies and conscious portrayals prevail. Assessments are made as to how certain aspects of depictions help or harm public perception of mental illness and general understanding of psychological conditions. 14 films are analyzed after critical viewings, and common trends and evolution of portrayals of mental illness are taken into account as the decades progress.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-3-2018


Chad Cogdill

Mentor Professional Affiliation


Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Clinical Therapeutic Programs

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Communication Sciences and Disorders