Diagnostic Culture: The experience, history and social representation of depression and ADHD

Former organisational unit. 31/12/2016.

Organisation profile

In most modern societies in the West, we find very high prevalence numbers for many psychiatric disorders. About 50 percent of the population live up to the criteria for at least one psychiatric diagnosis in a lifetime perspective, and around 25 percent will do so in the course of one year. Such statistics have been known for years, but there is much uncertainty about how to interpret them: Are they signs of genuine epidemics of depression and ADHD, for example? Or do they tell us that we are witnessing massive processes of pathologization of normal human phenomena? Or are both things happening simultaneously?

This project seeks an answer to these questions by focusing on depression and ADHD in the adult population. These disorders have significant similarities (both are treated pharmacologically and are much debated in the public), but they are also quite different from each other (e.g. concerning gender, age and core symptoms). We will study:

  1. How adults experience the process of receiving these diagnoses, and what it means for them to have their experience of suffering filtered through a diagnostic and psychiatric vocabulary
  2. How depression and ADHD are constituted in public discussions in media, films and television
  3. How these diagnostic categories have emerged and developed historically to become influential in many people’s self-understanding.

By looking at the phenomena from several angles at the same time, we hope to be able to chart an expanding diagnostic culture and thereby contribute to the current discussion about psychiatric diagnoses.

The Research Project Diagnostic Culture is supportet with 6.955.844 DKK by The Danish Council for Independent Research's career programme 'Sapere Aude'.



Research (325)

Activities (304)

Prizes (5)

Most frequent journals

  • Politiken

    ISSNs: 0907-1814

    Politikens Forlag, Denmark


  • Psykolog Nyt

    ISSNs: 0901-7089



  • Nordic Psychology (Online)

    ISSNs: 1904-0016, 1901-2276, 0029-1463

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 0900-8772

    Routledge, United Kingdom


  • Culture & Psychology

    ISSNs: 1354-067X

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1461-7056

    SAGE Publications, United Kingdom


  • Qualitative Inquiry

    ISSNs: 1077-8004

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1552-7565

    SAGE Publications, United States


Most frequent publishers

Most downloaded publications

Latest activities and conferences

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