Online comments about psychiatric neurosurgery and psychopharmacological interventions: Public perceptions and concerns

Laura Y. Cabrera, Marisa Brandt, Rachel McKenzie, Robyn Bluhm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The field of biological psychiatry is controversial, with both academics and members of the public questioning the validity and the responsible use of psychiatric technological interventions. The field of neuroethics provides insight into these controversies by examining key themes that characterize specific topics, attitudes, and reasoning tools that people use to evaluate interventions in the brain and mind. This study offers new empirical neuroethical insights into how the public responds to the use and development of psychiatric technological interventions by comparing how the public evaluates pharmacological and neurosurgical psychiatric interventions, in the context of online comments on news media articles about these topics. We analyzed 1142 comments from 108 articles dealing with psychopharmacological and psychiatric neurosurgery interventions on websites of major circulation USA newspapers and magazines published between 2005 and 2015. Personal anecdote, medical professional issues, medicalization, social issues, disadvantages, scientific issues and cautionary realism were among the main themes raised by commenters. The insights derived from the comments can contribute to improving communication between professionals and the public as well as to incorporating the public's views in policy decisions about psychiatric interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume220
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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