Although having a mental illness has become common, many people tend to hide their illness and avoid seeking treatment. One of the reasons for not seeking treatment is the stigma of mental illness. Celebrity confessions about their experiences of mental illness can reduce such stigma, because the public obtains more knowledge about the illness and becomes more familiar with it. However, little research has been conducted on the influence of a celebrity’s confession about mental illness on the public’s health behaviors related to the illness. The present study examined the effects of the media coverage of celebrities with panic disorder on information-seeking, providing information about the illness, and the number of people who visited a psychiatrist in South Korea. For this, we collected all the news articles on celebrities’ confessions regarding their panic disorder, search frequency of panic disorder, the number of questions on a Questions & Answers (Q&A) Website, a number of blog posts about panic disorder, and the number of people that visited a psychiatrist for panic disorder between 2010 and 2015. We found that there were positive correlations between the media’s coverage of celebrities with panic disorder with other variables. In addition, the search frequency and the number of questions on the Q&A Website were also positively associated with the number of people who visited a psychiatrist. Regression analysis showed that the search frequency was the most significant predictor of the increase in the number of people who visited a psychiatrist for panic disorder.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)