Press coverage of the mental health of children: A comparative study of major newspapers from Peru and the United States

Project: Research

Project Details

Project summary

In order to increase our knowledge about how children's mental health is treated in the media, this study will analyze the journalistic coverage of the main newspapers in Peru and the United States. The objective will be to identify the themes, the valences and the approaches with which these themes are addressed, the sources used, as well as the characterization of the characters that present mental health conditions, when children's mental health is addressed in the diaries of both. countries in the decade from 2012 to 2021. The study is motivated by the Cultivation Theory and the conceptualization about framing, and will use the content analysis technique to examine the articles of eight main newspapers, four for each country, given that both countries they face a similar picture in terms of the prevalence of mental health problems in their population. The knowledge obtained as a result of this study will put into discussion the similarities and differences about the treatment of children's mental health in the press in two different contexts: one from a middle-income country and the other from a high-income country. Likewise, it will allow the design of differentiated strategies for interventions that include, for example, actions to correct information and training of journalists, as well as specific guidelines for parents who are exposed to this information through the press. This is an international and comparative study that will contribute to improve our understanding of the media representation of a health condition that afflicts our societies.


In Peru, mental and behavioral disorders are among the health conditions that contribute to the highest number of years of healthy life lost in the national population (Ministry of Health, 2020) and in the United States, mental health is one of the biggest health problems facing its population, given that one in five individuals experiences a mental health problem annually (CDC, 2021). For this reason, mental health care, especially children's mental health, is a central concern of society and also of parents, who usually obtain information through various sources, either intentionally or incidentally when they are exposed to the media. communication. In Peru, there are very few studies about how mental health is treated in the press—one of them, for example, is our most recent collaborative work with colleagues from CRONICAS Center of Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Hidalgo-Padilla, Rozas, Busse & Diez-Canseco, 2021)—and in the United States Very little has been studied about how children's mental health is covered in the national press—although there are multiple studies on the treatment of mental health in general in the media (see the systematic review by Pirkis, Blood, Francis, & McCallum, 2006 ). Given these knowledge gaps, the study proposes to analyze the treatment of children's mental health in the national press of two countries with different economic realities—a middle-income country and a high-income country (The World Bank, 2022)—in order to put It is under discussion whether the ways of addressing mental health in children are similar in these countries or, on the contrary, show particularities attributable to the contexts of their respective cultures.
Effective start/end date1/04/2231/03/23

Collaborative partners


  • Universidad de Lima: PEN25,212.00


  • mental health
  • children
  • comparative study
  • Peru
  • United States

Research areas and lines

  • Health
  • Languages ​​and speeches

Kind of research

  • Applied


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