The Uses of Biological Sciences to Justify the Risks of Children’s Mental Health and Developmental Disorders in North American News Magazines: 1990–2012

  • Juanne N. Clarke
  • Donya Mosleh
Part of the Communicating in Professions and Organizations book series (PSPOD)


The rates of diagnosis of children’s mental health and developmental (CMHI) issues have been growing in the past decades particularly in Anglophone North America and in other Western neo-liberal democracies. The rates of growth in the United States of three specific diagnoses, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder and depression have been especially steep since about 1980 (Whitaker 2010). More recently there has been a dramatic growth in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (Silverman 2008). Today the incidence of diagnosed and community reported CMHI is between 14.3% in Canada (Boyle and Georgiades 2010) and 16.7%, in the United States or 25.6% if addiction disorders are included (Perou et al. 2013). A recent US national survey estimated that approximately 20% of youth had (during their lifetime) experienced some type of mental disorder that limited their functional ability (Merikangas et al. 2010). There has also been a significant increase in the prescription of certain drugs to treat mental illnesses in children and adolescents. For example, there has been an increase in the prescription of anti-psychotics (associated with the escalation in bipolar diagnoses) in the past several decades (Olfson et al. 2006). Clearly, a substantial minority of children and young people are succumbing to the contemporary labelling of ‘having’ and ‘needing treatment’ for one or more CMHI.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder News Story Time Magazine 
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Copyright information

© Juanne N. Clarke and Donya Mosleh 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juanne N. Clarke
  • Donya Mosleh

There are no affiliations available

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