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The evaluation of mental disorders research reported in British and Irish newspapers between 2002 and 2013, and a comparison with the relative disease burdens and with research outputs in the two countries

Atia Sultana, Grant Lewison and Elena Pallari

Health Policy, 2019, vol. 123, issue 4, 419-426

Abstract: Mental disorders are a major contributor to the disease burden in Europe. We studied how research on them was communicated to British and Irish newspaper readers through an analysis of stories in the Daily Mail (DML) and The Guardian (GDN) in the UK and the Irish Times (IET) in Ireland, in 2002–13, and whether the coverage reflected the relative burdens of mental disorders, or the amount of research, in the two countries. The cited papers were identified through the newspapers’ archive or the Factiva database, and their details and those of the research they cited from the Web of Science, with 1,128 stories in total. Alzheimer’s and other dementias was the leading UK press research topic, but depression was for Ireland. The countries whose research was most cited were the United States, followed by Canada and Europe, notably the UK and Ireland in their respective newspapers. Over 68% of the Irish research papers cited by IET were supported by the state, compared with only 38% of all Irish mental disorders research. The UK newspapers had many stories on lifestyle factors (DML) or drug treatments (GDN); IET gave more space to epidemiology. The UK papers gave little attention to non-drug treatments. Many stories quoted commentators, who in the UK were often charities, but the IET tended to use academics.

Keywords: Mental health; Newspaper reporting; Research impact; Ireland; United Kingdom (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2019.01.005

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