212413 A national assessment of newspaper coverage regarding domestic violence

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nicole Kolm, MPH , Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Joseph A. Dake, PhD, MPH , Department of Health, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

Approximately 25% of adult women and 8% of adult men experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). Although IPV is a public health problem, many people view it as a problem between the people in the relationship (Worden & Carlson, 2005). The media may be partly responsible, as many newspaper articles are written in a way that leaves the victim responsible for finding an end to the violence (Maxwell, Huxford, Borum & Hornik, 2000). The use of passive voice in media leads readers to attribute less harm to the victim and more acceptance of the violence (Henley, Miller, & Beazley, 1993). However, it is not known what percentage of print newspapers nationwide report IPV in passive voice. This study examined the frequency of the use of passive and active voice in newspaper articles reporting intimate partner violence.


A geographically stratified random sample of 16 newspapers was selected based on 2008 designated market areas. One week for each season of 2008 (28 total days) was randomly constructed to achieve a year-round representation. A 448 newspapers were manually reviewed and all articles reporting on intimate partner violence were selected. Variables coded include passive or active voice of article, author gender, article location in newspaper, and geographic region.


Data has just finished being collected and the results will be presented on the poster presentation.

Learning Objectives:
1) Poster attendees will be able to describe the prevalence of domestic violence reporting in a national sample of newspapers from 2008. 2) Poster attendees will be able to discuss the impact that reporting style (passive versus active voice) plays in domestic violence reporting. 3) Poster attendees will be able to explain difference in reporting styles based on differences in the gender of the victim.

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was involved in developing the idea, methods, data collection, and writing of the abstract and the subsequent manuscript.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.