These are the final products of a two-year research project I conducted during my junior and senior years of high school.
This study is focused on common tropes—a significant or recurrent theme—regarding posttraumatic stress disorder and panic disorder in television shows with high fandom activity and how the use of these tropes affects the shows’ fans. Focused specifically on Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Teen Wolf, both direct observations of the show and critical analyses written by fans were used to discover and describe trends in the disorders. Once trends were defined and aligned with universally-recognized tropes, the tropes were evaluated for their validity and their appearance in fan works. While many tropes have raised awareness of the disorders, they have also created misconceptions by narrowing fan perceptions of the disorders to a specific few symptoms common in the trope instead of the full spectrum of the disorders. Both show writers and fans must make it a priority to help educate each other on the disorders to prevent misinformation and raise general awareness of posttraumatic stress disorder and panic disorder; therefore reducing the public stigma of the disorders.
For the product, four television scenes were written as examples of beneficial and accurate tropes for both posttraumatic stress disorder and panic disorder. There is one scene depicting each disorder for each of the two primary shows; Supernatural and Teen Wolf.
The scenes were written as canon-compliant, meaning that they would be entirely possible considering what’s presented in the shows and do not contradict time, plot, or characterization. They are proof of concept that well-written scenes could potentially enhance the audience’s understanding of the disorders without disrupting the shows entirely.
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