The focus of this study was to understand perceptions college students have regarding menstruation and if viewing a normalized media message may influence these perceptions. A treatment group of participants was randomly assigned to view an episode of the hit family sitcom Blackish that focused on menstruation and then answer survey questions. A control group of participants only answered the survey questions. A mixed methods analysis revealed three primary conclusions. First, these results contradict existing research in that the college students surveyed generally do not hold negative perceptions that may stigmatize menstruation. Second, the treatment that viewed the normalized media message intervention did not report significantly more positive perceptions about menstruation as a natural bodily function than their counterparts in the control group. Third, many participants acknowledged menstruation is a stigmatized topic and media messages not only currently contribute to these attitudes but could be used as a catalyst for guiding society toward normalizing it. These results extend existing research on how people perceive menstruation and on mass media effect research as a means to address stigmatized topics.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Communication; Mass Communication
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
O'Toole, Mary Jane, "Coming to a Full Stop: An Investigation of Menstrual Period Stigmas in College Students" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5789.