Pruitt, A. S., McKinsey, E., & Barile, J. P.
Journal of Community Psychology (in press)
Publication year: 2020

This exploratory study aimed to identify the dominant cultural narratives on homelessness in Hawai‘i—an area of the United States that has seen a precipitous increase in homelessness amid overall national decline. Because media is a primary way in which these narratives are created, solidified, and perpetuated, this study sought to understand the role the local media played in constructing homelessness narratives during this homelessness “crisis.” This study used thematic content analysis of a random sample of 648 articles of Hawai‘i media coverage between 2012 and 2017. The analysis found that media coverage of homelessness in Hawai‘i emphasized structural‐level causes and solutions, while simultaneously relying on stereotypes and stigmatizing characteristics. However, coverage became more complex over time and was open to revision based on new information. This study suggests that media could be a viable target of interventions seeking to produce healthy and accurate narratives.