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‘Now that's a fair dinkum academic debate, but this affects people's lives’: a discursive analysis of arguments for and against the provision of warnings about potential side effects of SSRIs in a public debate

Williams, A. and Donaghue, N. (2010) ‘Now that's a fair dinkum academic debate, but this affects people's lives’: a discursive analysis of arguments for and against the provision of warnings about potential side effects of SSRIs in a public debate. Critical Public Health, 20 (1). 15 - 24.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09581590802566446
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Abstract

In recent years increasing media attention has highlighted the possibility that antidepressants may cause many disturbing side effects, including suicide. However, coverage of these issues has been criticised as negatively affecting people who suffer from depression. Employing the methods of discursive psychology, this paper examines how arguments are constructed for and against providing information about the full range of side effects of antidepressant medications, via the analysis of a public debate in which the potential side effects of SSRIs were the topic of concern. We demonstrate how one speaker draws on repertoires of consumer rights pitted against corporate profit motives to construct a case for the provision of warnings as a reasonable and obvious responsibility of pharmaceutical companies. The other speaker relies on separating practical from academic problems, and constructs the ‘academic’ question of serious side effects of SSRIs as a contentious and illegitimate concern in the public realm. The arguments employed by both opponents are discussed in terms of their rhetorical construction and social consequences.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: Taylor and Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2400
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