How we think about depression: The role of linguistic framing

Florencia Reali, Tania Soriano, Daniela Rodríguez
2016 Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología  
Descriptions of emotional disorders vary according to cultural and historical context. Framing mental illness as a disease ---as opposed to being a consequence of psychosocial factors ---has been proposed as a strategy to fight stigma in recent years. Here we combine two studies, a corpus analysis and an experimental survey, to explore this issue in the case of Spanish. First, we conducted a corpus analysis to investigate the patterns of linguistic framing of depression --including disease-like
more » ... luding disease-like descriptions and metaphorical frames ---using data from Latin American countries. Two main patterns were identified: (1) depression is frequently framed as a brain disease. In line with medicalization trends observed worldwide, this pattern has increased over time. (2) The data showed that depression is also metaphorically construed as a place in space or as an opponent. Second, we investigated whether the instantiation of subtle linguistic cues influences people's perception of a description of a hypothetical case of depression. A survey experiment conducted among Colombian students revealed that when depression was framed as a disease, the participants' perception of the depressed person's responsibility was reduced. Moreover, disease-like descriptions and metaphorical frames influenced participants' initial interpretations of the role of social causal factors. Como pensamos sobre la depresión: el rol del encuadre lingüístico Resumen Las descripciones de los desórdenes emocionales varían de acuerdo a la cultura y los contextos históricos. Recientemente, se ha propuesto que enmarcar lingüísticamente estos desórdenes como enfermedades ---en contraposición a consecuencias de factores psicosociales ---podría ser una estrategia para combatir estigmas. En este trabajo combinamos un análisis del corpus lingüístico y un estudio experimental para explorar las características y ଝ This research was supported by Fondo FAPA, Vicerrectoría de investigaciones, Universidad de los Andes.
doi:10.1016/j.rlp.2015.09.004 fatcat:sj57reyisveileuwy4rpfl5oim