Framing Depression as a Functional Signal Rather than a Disease Promotes Hope and Reduces Stigma, Study Finds

This report from Julia Lejeune has been published by Mad in America. It begins:

“New research reveals that individuals seeking depression treatment may benefit from an explanation of depression as serving an important human function, as opposed to a disease arising from genetic and environmental risk factors.

The study, published by Hans Schroder and colleagues in Social Science & Medicine, investigates the effects of different messages of depression etiology on participants’ beliefs about depression, attitudes toward treatment, and self-stigma. Findings from the randomized controlled trial indicate that the message invoking the language of depression as serving an important function leads to more adaptive beliefs about depression and lower levels of self-stigma.

Messages that describe the chemical and genetic basis of depression, such as the disproven serotonin imbalance theory, have dominated clinical, public health, and popular discourses since the 1960s. Authors of the present research highlight multiple movements that have contributed to the pervasive popularity of biogenetic messages about depression, including direct-to-consumer advertising from pharmaceutical companies marketing SSRIs, public health campaigns showcasing depression as a medical disorder necessitating treatment, and technological advancements in research investigating the neuroscientific and genetic bases of mental health …”

You can read more from here.

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