St. Bonaventure University

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Walker publishes paper on advertising for bipolar drugs

Dec 07, 2023

Dr. Tara Walker, assistant professor in the Jandoli School, had her paper titled “On shaky ground: Stigma and otherness in direct-to-consumer advertising for bipolar disorder drug treatments” published at the end of November in the peer-reviewed Journal of Communication Inquiry.

Walker also presented this paper at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (EJMC) conference last summer.

The paper uses Stuart Hall’s cultural studies-based work on otherness to approach the recent phenomenon of direct-to-consumer advertising for bipolar disorder drug treatment. In this paper, Walker explores cultural narratives around bipolar disorder, and what it means in the popular imagination as well as the implications for drug advertising. 

The paper argues that the bipolar drug ads reflect the larger ambivalence of American society toward mental illness, and they essentially ignore the problem of stigma by rendering it invisible.