A textual analysis of women’s health magazines : how women’s health magazines set the agenda for women’s beliefs about cardiovascular disease
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While heart disease kills an average of 399,028 women in the United States every year (Benjamin et al., 2017), women do not seem to be aware of the high risk of heart disease that they face (Mosca, Hammond, Mochari-Greenberger, Towfighi, & Albert, 2013). This thesis examines the messages that are presented to women about heart disease through the three highest circulating women’s health magazines in the United States. By examining these messages through a textual analysis, the researcher was able to gain insight into what messages women may be internalizing about heart disease because of the messages they are viewing in mainstream publications designed to provide health information. Through an analysis of 349 articles (n = 349), the researcher found that heart disease was not portrayal lacked an emphasis on severity, despite the common use of expert sources and research findings to support the messages within the articles. Themes that provided a realistic picture and actionable advice for heart disease were much fewer in comparison to the articles that simply stated risks or behaviors that were associated with increased risk of heart disease. There was also a lack of information about social risk factors and treatment options that include seeking medical attention. Overall, this research found that there is a superficial level portrayal of heart disease in women’s health magazines.