154537 Role of the media in shaping public opinion surrounding prescription drug use to treat depression and anxiety disorders in children: Possible side effects may include

Monday, November 5, 2007: 1:00 PM

Lourdes S. Martinez , Doctoral Program (Health Communication), Annenberg School of Communication (University of Pennsylvania), Philadelphia, PA
Nehama Lewis , Doctoral Program in Health Communication, Annenberg School for Communication, Philadelphia, PA
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that 13 percent of youth suffer from anxiety disorders, which are often accompanied by a secondary disorder such as depression. Pharmaceutical treatment options for these conditions have become a point of public debate in recent years,in light of the preponderance of advertising for antidepressant drugs. Controversies such as that surrounding the use of Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), a popular class of anti-depressants, and their possible link to a series of adolescent suicides in 2004 have further fueled the debate about whether antidepressant drugs should be a preferred treatment method for mental health disorders in children and adolescents.

The current study investigates the impact of exposure to prescription drug advertisements on public opinion with regard to preferred treatment options for children who suffer from depression. The findings will be based on data collected from the 2007 Annenberg National Health Communication Survey, and will examine the distribution of public support for the use of antidepressant drugs to treat depression and anxiety disorders in youth, comparing groups who were exposed to advertising for antidepressant prescription drugs with those who were not. The analysis will take into account the effects of prior knowledge about prescription drugs, and personal and familial drug history. The implications of the findings will be discussed in relation to the public debate surrounding the question of the potential benefits, and possible long-term adverse effects, of treating depression and anxiety disorders among children and youth with antidepressant drugs.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participants in this session will be able to: Describe the role of direct-to-consumer prescription advertisements in the shaping of public opinion regarding the use of prescription drugs for depression/anxiety in treating children and youth. 2. Evaluate the distribution of support for use of prescription drugs to treat depression and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents across different groups in the population.

Keywords: Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.