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The Reality of Fictional Power: Students’ Use of Fiction as a Coping Mechanism

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Miranda Judson

This research explores the benefits of leisure and assigned reading as a coping mechanism. In this research I demonstrate that fiction is a powerful coping mechanism. While research has been done on Bibliotherapy, the guided use of literature for patients, clients, or students, and similar fields, no research has been done specifically on fiction or the self-guided use of fiction as a coping mechanism. I surveyed and interviewed university English students who responded that they find fiction to be soothing and that they find insight to problems they're facing when they read. I demonstrate that students find more insight and find reading to be more beneficial as a coping mechanism when they are reading for pleasure as opposed to assigned reading in school. The books these students choose as a coping mechanism are varied, including Gods and Monsters by Shelby Mahurin, Merlin's Keep by Madeleine Brent, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Little Men and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, to name a few. Perhaps this is because students also choose the books they read for pleasure with their emotional and psychological benefit in mind.
University / Institution: Utah State University
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #D46
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Humanities
Faculty Mentor: Joyce Kinkead