Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 177–181

Reality Check: How Reality Television Can Affect Youth and How a Media Literacy Curriculum Can Help

Column: Media

DOI: 10.1007/s40596-015-0382-1

Cite this article as:
Peek, H.S. & Beresin, E. Acad Psychiatry (2016) 40: 177. doi:10.1007/s40596-015-0382-1


For the past decade, reality television programming has dominated the television market while inherently giving the impression that what occurs on the screen is in fact reality. Although mature audiences may be savvy about the differences between reality and reality television, for children and adolescents, these differences can be less clear. It is important to know what values youth are ascertaining from reality television, as studies have suggested that these media images may have a negative impact on adolescent values. Fortunately, media literacy education has shown promising results in counteracting the negative impact of some television programming. The goals of this paper are to show the potential benefits for the development of a media literacy curriculum for psychiatry residents, including critical media literacy skills, media history taking, and counseling concepts. Our hopes are that trained residents may learn to effectively teach these literacy skills to their patients, patients’ families, educators, and other health professionals as a preventive measure against potential negative mental health effects of reality television.


Curriculum development Media (TV films) Child psychiatry 

Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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