The Overrepresentation Of Women in 'Common' Psychiatric Diagnoses: Do Women's Magazines Play A Role In Marketing Psychiatric Explanations?

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Phillips, Stephanie (2015)

This study is concerned with the over-representation of women in common psychiatric diagnoses and the role played by the mass media in promoting medicalized explanations of distress in women. In order to investigate this, the current study examines the various constructions of distress used in the women’s magazine ‘Take a Break’. This magazine was chosen because of its popularity and because the readership reflects those women who are demographically most over-represented in common psychiatric diagnoses. In order to investigate the constructions of distress used in the magazine, the study draws on discursive psychology and critical discourse analysis to examine how particular constructions of distress are employed and to what effect. The key constructions identified in the data were ‘distress as a normative response’, ‘distress as a biomedical condition’ and ‘distress as a matter of personal responsibility’. The implications of each of these representations of distress are explicitly reflected upon with reference to the literature, and recommendations for clinical practice and further research are made in light of the findings.
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