Death and Coping Mechanisms in Animated Disney Movies: A Content Analysis of Disney Films (1937–2003) and Disney/Pixar Films (2003–2016)
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(10), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7100199 (registering DOI)
Received: 11 September 2018 / Revised: 11 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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The purpose of this content analysis was to examine how death depictions in animated Disney films has changed in the past 14 years and the coping mechanisms used to process death within these films. A content analysis from 2005 was used to investigate
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The purpose of this content analysis was to examine how death depictions in animated Disney films has changed in the past 14 years and the coping mechanisms used to process death within these films. A content analysis from 2005 was used to investigate the influence of Disney films on children’s concepts of death based on 23 death scenes from 10 full-length Disney Classic animated films from 1937 to 2003 and 10 death scenes from 8 selected full-length Disney and Pixar animated films from 2003 to 2016. Our goal was to compare the findings across the two studies. Similar to the original study, the portrayal of death focused on five categories: character status; depiction of death; death status; emotional reaction; and causality. We expanded on the original study and more research by examining coping mechanisms used to process death within a selection of these films. Our findings indicated that some scenes from animated Disney and Pixar films obscure the permanence and irreversibility of death and often fail to acknowledge deaths emotionally. Our conclusions showed that Disney’s and Pixar’s portrayal of death in newer films might have more positive implications for children’s understanding of death than Disney Classic animated films.