This research found that the general public in the United States perceive youth in foster care (YFC) to be negatively presented by the media. We conducted a demographically representative national survey (N=2487 adults) in which the majority of respondents reported that they believed YFC are at least somewhat accurately portrayed as 1) Victims, 2) Survivors, 3) Criminals, and 4) Drug Addicts. The small group of respondents who identified previous life experience in foster care (N=245) were less likely to select Victim and Drug Addict, and similarly likely to select Criminal and Survivor, as compared to those without prior foster care experience. Respondents with higher consumption levels of certain media types (such as news channels or newspapers, network channels, and streaming channels) and of particular media genres (such as news and dramas) were more likely to select the negative media portrayals of Victim and Criminal for YFC. Media type and to a lesser extent, media genre, also influenced respondent’s perceptions about the typical childhood experiences of YFC. There were no meaningful demographic (race, gender, age) patterns that influenced the association between the type or genre of media consumed and the perceptions of YFC. Therefore, the media is an important source of information in creating negative perceptions about YFC for all ages, genders, and races in the United States.
Leslie Ponciano, Hope Education Research Solutions, United States
Noah Nash, Peace4Kids, United States
Zaid Gayle, Peace4Kids, United States
This paper is part of the EuroMedia2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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