Mediating illness: newspaper coverage of tranquilliser dependence

Jonathan Gabe, U. Gustafsson, M. Bury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the value of insights
from media studies for medical sociology by focusing on the
cultural and ideological messages transmitted in newspaper
coverage of tranquilliser dependence. An analysis of 62 stories
recounting the experiences of individual tranquilliser users
reveals that journalists concentrate on two kinds of person - the
celebrity and the ordinary user- in their reports. The ways in
which the press deploys these users' experiences of tranquilliser
dependence and withdrawal and their relationship with the
medical profession are then analysed, with particular attention
being given to the cultural and ideological meanings embedded
in its descriptions of such experiences and relations. The
paper ends with a discussion of the reasons for the transmission
of such meanings by the press and their possible effect on different audiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-353
Number of pages21
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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