Open Access Graduate Research Paper
The purpose of this qualitative content analysis is to study the portrayal of characters who have a mental illness in award-winning young adult books for teacher librarians to recommend for young adult readers and for teachers to use in teaching and curriculum for mental illness acceptance. The research questions asked the following: how does award-winning young adult literature that includes characters with mental illness portray interactions with peers and adults; This study used qualitative content analysis to examine 10 novels portraying multiple mental illnesses and that were published from 2013 to 2020. This research identified three themes: Theme 1 is supportive community helps characters with mental illness thrive; Theme 2 is characters with mental illness are complex; Theme 3 is characters with mental illness can lead full lives. The research concluded that while young adult novels that portrayed mental illness had stereotypes about mental illness, this was neither a determination of positive or negative portrayal. Stereotypes are common in society, so the portrayal in novels may convey realistic situations. Overall the novels still offered diverse representation of lived experiences of mental illness.
Year of Submission
Master of Arts
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Division of School Library Studies
Karla Krueger, First Reader
1 PDF file (39 pages)
©2021 Ashley Aberle
Aberle, Ashley, "Mental illness representation in young adult literature" (2021). Graduate Research Papers. 1880.