Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
The recent amplified attention towards mental health and overall wellbeing has been accelerated by awareness campaigns in media, which are culturally and regionally tailored to encourage efficacy and positive attitude changes. Some of these mental health awareness campaigns are disseminated on the social media platform Instagram, which is contradictory to Instagram’s corporate lack of acknowledgement towards its addictiveness and negative impacts on user mental health. The aesthetic and influencer culture surrounding social media empowers its systemic problems, which is exacerbated by modern society’s media dependency. Within its discriminatory and oppressive algorithm, mental health awareness campaigns created by Instagram represent corporate advocacy and its potential performativity in endorsing public health issues for brand image. For social media platforms to be nondiscriminatory whilst maintaining its communicative benefits, the corporations must denote profit-minded ideologies and systems – decentralizing its monopolized control with wider accessibility. Within this social media ecosystem, third culture kids – or those who identify with more than one cultural background due to frequent relocation in their developmental years – are vulnerable to psychological disruption yet often excluded from the target audiences of these awareness campaigns. The migratory nature of third culture kids fosters dependency on social media to stay connected, thus encouraging addiction to its algorithm and further vulnerability to capitalistically encoded messages. The psychological study in this paper examines the effectiveness of social media corporations’ mental health awareness campaigns in reducing mental health stigma in third culture kids. Domestic and third culture kid students studying in colleges and universities in the United States will complete self-report surveys immediately after and two weeks after viewing mental health awareness content to assess changes in stigma levels. The results are anticipated to affirm that these mental health awareness campaigns are more effective for majority groups (i.e., domestic students or White people) than for minority groups (i.e., third culture kids and People of Color) – affirming social media theories about discriminatory social media algorithms and highlighting the need to further cater towards populations with heightened risks towards psychological distress. Overall, this paper will aim to contribute to the lack of research on the growing third culture kid population and illuminate the implications of a globally nomadic lifestyle.
Sugihara, Airi, "#MentalHealthMatters: Mental Health Awareness Campaigns in Media and its Effectiveness on Stigma Reduction in Third Culture Kids" (2022). Scripps Senior Theses. 1942.