Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Juanne Clarke

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


In this thesis, l examined how cardiovascular disease (CVD) is portrayed in magazines. Analyses of health in the mass media provide insight into the messages that society receives on areas such as disease, wellness, medicine, illness prevention, and health-promoting and health-damaging lifestyles. In this thesis, l reviewed literature on health promotion, population health, and mass media. Through content analysis I examined quantitative and qualitative differences in the portrayal of CVD in terms of lifestyle, medical, and socio-structural content. I compared articles from magazines that are associated with different socio-economic statuses (SE8), ages, and genders (n = 104). The findings illustrate that articles mainly focused on medical content (.60), followed by lifestyle content (.33), followed by socio-structural content (.06). These proportions represent the average proportion of each article that was designated as either medical, lifestyle, or socio-structurally related information. There were no major differences in these proportions across articles from magazines directed towards different SES groups, ages, or genders. The focus on individualistic factors of the disease (largely lifestyle and medically oriented) far outweighed the social, political, economic, and environmental factors. The association between poverty and CVD, an undisputed relationship, was almost completely neglected by the articles in this sample. These findings imply that not only do the media present an overly individualistic portrayal of CVD but they may tend to “blame the victim” for his or her illness. Also, the findings suggest that there may be missing links between health research and how media portray CVD. Underlying assumptions in the magazine articles in this study were also outlined, as well as limitations of the current research, and possible areas of future research.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season