Degree Granting Department
Kelli Burns, Ph.D.
Michael Mitrook, Ph.D.
Kelly Werder, Ph.D.
Lou Gehrig’s Disease, terminal illness, disease in mass media, media representation, patient message perception
This study examines the attitudes and opinions of ALS patients toward mass messages about their condition. Six focus groups of ALS patient support groups viewed and responded to public relations messages, charity advertisements, and a news story. Results suggest that mass messages remind participants of the need for public ALS awareness. Participants also said they shared in the narratives and identify closely with the characters in the messages they viewed, and participants expressed concern with disease depictions. These concerns included a tension between positive and realistic portrayals, identification of message inaccuracies, and a desire for more specific disease information. The ALS disease as it relates to mass communication has not yet been explored in scholarly literature. This study highlights the importance of the thoughts and opinions of ALS patients toward mass communication about their disease, and it provides a rich understanding of the participants' desires for their disease experience to be recognized and understood.
Scholar Commons Citation
Kuhn, Kamden, "Talking with ALS Patients: An Exploratory Study of Patient Attitudes toward Mass Messages about ALS" (2011). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.