The Newspaper Portrayal of Mothers Accessing Food Banks in the UK
Aim: This study investigated the newspaper portrayal of mothers’ accessing food banks in the UK. Specifically, how their identities were portrayed, how their experiences were portrayed and how the impact of this was portrayed. Method: Forty-five national online newspaper articles, focusing on mothers’ who had accessed food banks, were analysed from the 1st of October 2019 to the 1st of November 2020. The articles were analysed using Thematic Analysis six-phase framework developed by Braun and Clarke (2006). Results: Three themes were identified following the analysis. The first theme identified was ‘lives stolen by poverty’, subthemes ‘pushed down the ladder by political choices’, ‘narrowing opportunities’, ‘the odds are stacked against them’ and ‘morality’. The second theme was ‘struggling to survive’, followed by subthemes ‘mothering under scarcity’, ‘not knowing where to turn’ and the ‘impact on self-hood’. The third and final theme was ‘struggling to provide’, which was followed by subthemes ‘cycles of love and protection’ and ‘spilling over.’ Considerations and implications: This study placed a psychological lens to the portrayal of mothers’ accessing food banks. Consideration was provided to the implications of newspaper portrayals for mothers’, the support available to them and how these portrayals impact their wellbeing.
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