Narratives About Mental Illnesses in China: The Voices of Generation Y
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This study explores the cultured understanding of mental health and mental illnesses among members of Generation Y in China through a narrative approach. Five prominent narratives are identified through the analysis of stories about mental illnesses collected through semistructured interviews with college students. These five narratives feature the tragic genius, the psychotic criminal, the fragile victim, the antisocial recluse, and the homosexual. These narratives are gendered, in that women are the primary protagonists in the narrative about the fragile victim, while men are featured prominently in the narratives about the tragic genius, the psychotic criminal, and the antisocial recluse. Our study demonstrates that these narratives are based on, and will further reinforce, highly cultural-specific stereotypes and biases about mental illnesses in China. Theoretical and practical implications of this study are discussed.
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