Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Cassandra White

Abstract

The diagnosis and treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders has changed rapidly in the past century. Western medicine has produced diagnostic criteria, pharmaceuticals, and different therapies, increasing public awareness of these conditions. This research investigates the potential and perceived cultural, familial, and political influences on anxiety and depressive disorders in the current biomedical system; analyzes the effects of this system on the patients within it; and compares the causality, diagnosis, and treatment of these conditions cross-culturally. To accomplish these research goals, I conducted in-depth interviews with people affected by depression and anxiety in the Atlanta area. I will present my analysis of the interview data collected, focusing on the extent to which each participants' familial and cultural backgrounds and attitudes towards biomedicine affected their choices and experiences with treatment. I also explore the role of pharmaceutical advertising and marketing strategies in patients’ perceptions of their disorder and treatment options.

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