BA (Hons) Media and Communication
The effect of the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why: A study comparing the positive and negative influence of the series over two different age groups (18-25 years and 26-35 years.)
My dissertation project focused on connecting psychology and film studies in the investigation of the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and its effect. Two different age groups were studied and the results were very interesting, educating and some of them surprising.
This research investigates the effect of the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why in terms of positive and negative influence over two age groups (18 to 25 and 26 to 35 years). Studying viewers’ perceptions of the series is important in order to understand how different age groups perceive the show and whether there is a significant difference and to what extent. Furthermore, this mixed method study aimed to identify whether 13 Reasons Why romanticises suicide according to the two age groups investigated as well as suggest more appropriate ways of presenting serious real-life issues as the ones portrayed in the series. The research instrument was a mixed questionnaire and the data was obtained via convenience and snowball sampling in a household environment as well as via social media platforms due to the current Covid-19 situation which impacted and limited the data collection process. However, the research methods greatly aided the researcher in gathering eligible evidence.
The research is divided into six chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the scope of the study and presents the three research questions investigated. Chapter 2 delivers background research of the subject as well what is meant by ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ influence. Chapter 3 introduces the methodology and defines the research design and methods adopted by this study. Chapter 4 presents the findings which is followed by a discussion in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 delivers implications of the study as well as recommendations and study limitations.
The research showed that there is a difference in the perception of suicide ideation between the two age groups. Age group 18 to 25 is more prone to believing that the series
romanticises suicide in comparison to age group 26 to 35. Interestingly, there was no significant difference established in terms of the influence of 13 Reasons Why over the two age groups which was in fact, largely positive.
A number of suggestions were outlined as a conclusion of the study regarding the representation of serious issues which were portrayed in the series such as depression, suicide, bullying and sexual assault.