Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-13-2022


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Journalism and Multimedia Arts


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Pamela Walck

Committee Member

Zeynep Tanes Ehle

Committee Member

Andrew Simpson


mental health, athletes, agenda setting, content analysis


In the spring and summer of 2021, several athletes made headlines for seemingly prioritizing mental health over the status quo of sports society. For example, in May 2021, during the French Open, professional U.S. tennis player Naomi Osaka announced she would not appear at press conferences, despite threats of fines, citing on social media it was for her mental health. The controversy surrounding Osaka and others led to further questions. Looking through the lens of agenda setting and framing theories, the purpose of this study is to better understand the frequency, variety, and evolution of language in journalistic coverage of athletes’ mental health in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This study will examine the change in discourse by journalists throughout the decades at a regional, daily newspaper in a sports-centric community. It is important to evaluate the coverage of information presented, and how it is framed for the public. It is relevant to identify the agenda for the newspaper, and whether it changes with time. A content analysis was done utilizing 320 articles from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The study showed variety of journalistic coverage did not change significantly over the decades, however led to further questions regarding the cultural context of the coverage.