Newspaper portrayals of health and illness among Canadian seniors : Who ages healthily and at what cost?

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Julia Rozanova

Abstract

While media representations of health and illness receive growing attention from researchers, few studies have considered the newspaper portrayals of health and illness among the elderly. Yet, print media are one vehicle through which governments, in a climate of concern about population aging and the sustainability of the social safety net, emphasize individual responsibility for health and well-being in later life. By praising healthy aging, the media may, perhaps inadvertently, perpetuate new ageist stereotypes that marginalize vulnerable adults who fail to age healthily, and downplay the role of social institutions and structural inequalities (particularly gender and socio-economic status) in influencing individuals’ personal resources and lifestyle choices. This paper explores whether, and if so, how the media represent interrelations between health and aging, through thematic analysis of a pool of articles about seniors published in The Globe and Mail in 2005.

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