Exploring News Media Epidemiology of "Embitterment": A Content Analysis of Korean News Coverage between 1990 and 2018.Health Commun. 2019 Sep 27 [Online ahead of print]HC
Embitterment is a newly emerging mental problem that requires a social epidemiological approach. As this emotional state is varied in its manifestation and is pervasive in South Korea, we examined the embittered, those embittering, and causes of embitterment covered in news media in the nation. All news stories appearing between January 1, 1990 and August 31, 2018 in seven major daily newspapers in South Korea were searched for headlines containing "embitterment". A total of 321 news stories were identified for content analysis, which was conducted by two trained coders who examined each article to determine the identity of the embittered and embitters and the causes of and reponses from the embitterment. An inductive method was used to establish major levels for each variable. As a result, victims of disaster and accidents (and their families) were the most frequently embittered group, followed by politicians, laborers, persons of interest and the general public without specification. The three major causes of embitterment were: deprivation of basic life needs and rights, defamation/insult and abuse of power. Liberal newspapers published more "embitterment" stories, especially during conservative regimes. Since the periods of conservative regimes were longer than liberal regimes during the time under investigation, liberal newspapers published more "embitterment" stories than conservative newspapers. The patterns of coverage for the embittered, those embittering, and causes of embitterment also differed according to the political orientation of the newspaper. The implications of the findings from a social epidemiological approach and points requiring further study are discussed.