The current study investigated the impact and prevalence of the depictions of mental illnesses in Disney animated films. As most of the images and depictions of mental illness in these films are negative, the impact of mental illness in this tone was discussed. In this study, the films (N = 10) were viewed and analyzed using a coding manual developed by Lawson and Fouts (2004). All the films contained at least one character that made a negative mental illness verbal reference. With a total of ninety-nine verbalizations, there was an average of 9.9 instances per film. A majority of the speakers of the derogatory comments were male characters, while either male characters or groups of multiple characters were receivers of the remarks. Despite the lack of research on the topic, the studies conducted by Lawson and Fouts (2004) and Ahmed (2015) found similar results. The media's impact on contributing to mental illness stigmas in children and adolescents was discussed. To further justify the connection between Disney animated films and mental illness verbalizations, research on more films is needed.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2021


Theresa Botts

Mentor Department Affiliation


Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level