Bioethics Quarterly

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 20–38 | Cite as

Psychotropic drugs and women

  • P. Susan Stephenson
  • Gillian A. Walker


Presently, women receive two-thirds of the prescriptions for psychotropic drugs and Canadian studies have shown that, at any one time, 15–20% of women are taking the drugs. The authors suggest that this difference in prescription rates to men and women is rooted in the unrecognized stresses of women's traditional role and the pervasive sentiment that women who deviate from, or complain about, their traditional role as wife, mother, sex object and self-sacrificing nurturer must be sick. Thus a rationale for the prescription of psychoactive drugs to women has grown up within the framework of the ideology surrounding the institution of the family, and both reflects and reinforces traditional stereotypes about women's status and role.


Psychotropic Drug Psychoactive Drug Canadian Study Prescription Rate Traditional Role 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Susan Stephenson
    • 1
  • Gillian A. Walker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaCanada
  2. 2.Women Students Office of the University of British ColumbiaCanada

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