In recent decades, depression has received increased attention in the United States. As diagnosed instances of depression rise, and as it has usurped all other conditions in both national and global disability costs, pressure continues to mount to address and mitigate the societal impacts of this seemingly unstoppable disease. While this has taken various forms, from campaigns to destigmatize mental illness to government entities devoting to reducing social costs of depression, the prevailing narrative proves incomplete. Despite a wealth of research supporting a direct link between social factors (such as life satisfaction and relational satisfaction) and instances of clinical depression, the predominant US paradigm surrounding this illness focuses almost exclusively on the biomedical model. This paper first presents a review of the literature in support of a social etiology of depression, and then compares that substantiated research to the language used on popular medical websites such as WebMD. Consequences of the disparity between the established research of what causes depression and mainstream public narrative are explored.
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"Just a Chemical Imbalance: Exploring the Absence of the Social Etiology of Depression in Common Medical Websites,"
Conspectus Borealis: Vol. 6
, Article 8.
Available at: https://commons.nmu.edu/conspectus_borealis/vol6/iss1/8