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Title: Constructions of mental health : media and women's everyday lives in Thailand
Author: Sangsingkeo, Nitida
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 1867
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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This study explores constructions of mental health in Thailand by employing a bi-modal qualitative research design. In a nine month ethnographic study with 49 Thai women of different life and mental health backgrounds, I observed their day-to-day interactions with, and formulations of, mental health (Group One - the Emergency Home, a hostel for victims of rape, abuse and poverty, Group Two - the Family Link Association, a rehabilitation centre for people living with mental illness and Group Three - the everyday life setting). I also examined 121 mental health related articles in four Thai women's magazines by employing discourse analysis to explore the system of mass-mediated representations of mental health. This study responds to the need for complex analysis of mental health. The analysis shows that mental health is socially constructed and contested. In tum, there are a series of interactions, territories, voices and connected discourses behind these constructions. Thai women, this research concludes, are thus co-constructors of mental health in their interactions as media users with the complex representations of mental health in a dispersed media complex environment. Despite the representations of mental health being inadequate, misleading and biased in women's magazines (as well as other popular media), the mass media are a key resource of mental health information, blurring the borders between the public and private spheres of women's interests. Media literacy emerged as an enabling factor in building and generating respondents' mental health competencies and quality interaction in the recursive connection of mental health. Respondents from Group Two and Group Three drew on higher levels of media literacy in selecting, processing, filtering, criticising and challenging the mass-mediated mental health representations compared with Group One who had limited access to the diversity of mass media. This study also raises a concern as to the equality in women's access to different media and the question as to what extent women of different backgrounds can develop the media literacy skills to negotiate and utilise mediated contents to enhance mental health.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available