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Analysis of print news media framing of ketamine treatment in the United States and Canada from 2000 to 2015


Zhang, MWB and Hong, YX and Hussain, SF and Harris, KM and Ho, RCM, Analysis of print news media framing of ketamine treatment in the United States and Canada from 2000 to 2015, PLoS One, 12, (3) Article e0173202. ISSN 1932-6203 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Zhang et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173202


Objectives: There are multifaceted views on the use of ketamine, a potentially addictive substance, to treat mental health problems. The past 15 years have seen growing media coverage of ketamine for medical and other purposes. This study examined the print news media coverage of medical and other uses of ketamine in North America to determine orientations and trends over time.

Methods: Print newspaper coverage of ketamine from 2000 to 2015 was reviewed, resulting in 43 print news articles from 28 North American newspapers. A 55-item structured coding instrument was applied to assess news reports of ketamine. Items captured negative and positive aspects, therapeutic use of ketamine, and adverse side effects. Chi-squares tested for changes in trends over time.

Results: In the 15-year reviewed period, the three most frequent themes related to ketamine were: abuse (68.2%), legal status (34.1%), and clinical use in anesthesia (31.8%). There was significant change in trends during two periods (20002007 and 20082015). In 20082015, print news media articles were significantly more likely to encourage clinical use of ketamine to treat depression (p=0.002), to treat treatment resistant depression (p=0.043), and to claim that ketamine is more effective than conventional antidepressants (p=0.043).

Conclusions: Our review found consistent positive changes in the portrayals of ketamine by the print news media as a therapeutic antidepressant that mirror the recent scientific publications. These changes in news media reporting might influence the popularity of ketamine use to treat clinical depression. Guidance is required for journalists on objective reporting of medical research findings, including limitations of current research evidence and potential risks of ketamine.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ketamine, research ethiccs, news, depression, treatment, information
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Mental health services
UTAS Author:Harris, KM (Dr Keith Harris)
ID Code:115411
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2017-03-23
Last Modified:2019-09-23
Downloads:101 View Download Statistics

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