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Media portrayals of psychotropic agents in AD/HD treatment: A social constructionist approach
Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3472-8441
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9997-3926
(English)In: Health, ISSN 1363-4593, E-ISSN 1461-7196Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

In recent decades there has been a significant increase in diagnosing children and adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), and in the use of pharmacological treatment with Ritalin, Concerta and Strattera for AD/HD. This development has given rise to scientific criticism, claiming that the pharmaceuticals prescribed by doctors are, to a large extent, ineffective or harmful. This study discusses media’s portrayal of treatment of AD/HD. The aim of the article is to develop a social constructionist perspective, highlighting how scientific critique of pharmaceuticals for AD/HD is handled in the mass media. The authors introduce the concept of “psychopharmacological extensibility,” which demonstrates the importance of collective definitional processes in society. Psychopharmacological extensibility reflects the fact that the perception of AD/HD agents as beneficial medicines or harmful drugs is open to interpretation and dependent on social factors related to context, power, rhetoric, and marketization. The empirical data are based on 211 articles from eight of the largest newspapers in Sweden, published between 2002 and 2021. The result shows that Swedish mass media, in numerous ways, neglects or undermines the scientific criticism made, thereby facilitating an increased use of the diagnosis and of psychotropic agents in society.

Keywords [en]
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mass media, medication, portrayal, social construction
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Social Sciences Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-62311DOI: 10.1177/13634593231167060ISI: 000972721900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85153586553OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-62311DiVA, id: diva2:1752488
Available from: 2023-04-23 Created: 2023-04-23 Last updated: 2024-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Lindblom, Jonas

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