Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Young adults need a safe environment to learn about mental illness, and librarians must ensure that books being recommended authentically and realistically portray mental illness. The purpose of this study is to analyze the authenticity of fiction titles for middle school students that include content related to depression and anxiety to support recommendations to school counselors for bibliotherapy. The research questions this study sought to address included the following: Do the plots and characters of young adult novels written for middle school students realistically and authentically portray mental illness, and what criteria can be used to determine a novel's quality as a bibliotherapy tool for school counselors to use with young adults dealing with or wanting to learn about mental illness? This study utilized qualitative content analysis to examine ten books that include content related to depression and anxiety published between 2008 and 2016. This researcher identified four criteria to determine a novel's authenticity in portraying anxiety and depression which include stereotypes, symptomology, diagnosis, and treatment. Criteria identified to determine a novel's quality as a bibliotherapy tool include the following eight areas: cognitive behavioral therapy qualities, themes to create personal change, education of readers, positive role model, positive coping skills, healthy relationships and environments, stigma addressed or dispelled, and developmental appropriateness. Nine of the ten novels analyzed were found to realistically portray depression and anxiety, and seven were found to be quality bibliotherapy tools. Therefore, seven of the ten novels studied are recommended to counselors for use in bibliotherapy.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of School Library Studies

First Advisor

Karla Krueger


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (98 pages)