Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Emily McQuillan 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Emily McQuillan, I am a soon to be graduate of BSc (Hons) in Applied Psychology in IADT, with particular focus on the practice path.Throughout my years in IADT I have found my interests to be in Neuropsychology and Forensic psychology. My studies have allowed me to engage with people who work in the field of Psychology and organisations such as Barretstown which has been invaluable. My next goal is to volunteer in different organisations before I apply for a postgraduate degree.

Project Description

This present study is titled "An RSLR analysing applicability of two theories to true crime media consumption". The study aimed to add to previous literature on the topic of True Crime media consumption and fear of crime, with particular focus on the introduction of True Crime podcasts and True Crime on streaming services such as Netflix. My project focused on whether Terror Management theory could explain the relationship between True Crime media consumption and fear of crime. Terror management theory explores ways people alleviate their existential anxiety and confront their mortality by creating a meaningful life. My study also focused on The Theory of Planned behaviour. This is a theory which is intended to explain motivational influences on behaviour to determine, understand and predict behaviours.

Project Objectives

Previous research has indicated that there is a relationship between True Crime media consumption and fear of crime, particularly in women. My Major research project aimed to answer the following research questions: Is there a relationship between fear of crime and watching True Crime? How does terror management theory explain this relationship? How does this relationship predict attitudes and behaviours related to crime prevention and safety measures? A rapid-structured literature review (RSLR) and Braun and Clarkes reflective thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2021) was employed to investigate these research questions.

Project Outcomes

A Rapid Structured Literature Review was conducted to synthesise articles published in this area. Through the chosen search terms, the RSLR began with 464 published articles which was narrowed down to 9. This was done through a chosen inclusion and exclusion criteria. An example of inclusion criteria includes articles published between 2013 and 2024. An example of exclusion criteria were articles which discuss crime without any reference to media it is published in. Following this a reflexive thematic analysis was conducted in order to code the data to create themes which answered my proposed research questions. There was a total of three major themes were identified in the data with each theme having varying subthemes. The main themes identified were firstly, the influence of media format on victimization. Secondly, how True Crime media can be an educational resource into cultural and social interactions with violence. Finally how True Crime media can influence the perception of law enforcement and the justice system. The result of this study indicated there is a relationship between True Crime media consumption and a fear of crime and that Terror Management Theory is a motivating force for people to confront their existential anxiety. It also suggests that the Theory of Planned behaviour predicts a person’s behavioural intention with True Crime media consumption.

Thesis Title

An RSLR analysing applicability of two theories to true crime media consumption