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There is increasing evidence that placebos could be effective in clinical practice. However, knowledge of public perspectives on placebos is underdeveloped. We conducted a discourse analysis of internet comments on news articles related to placebos, aiming to improve this knowledge for clinicians and researchers. We developed two discursive constructs of the placebo. The dominant construct of the ‘placebo pill’ informs a paradoxical understanding of placebos that closes down treatment. The less-prevalent counter-discursive construct of the ‘treatment process’ frames placebos as potentially viable within modern evidence-based medicine. We discuss the opportunities and challenges of this alternative understanding of placebos.

More information Original publication

DOI

10.1177/2055102919832313

Type

Journal article

Journal

Health Psychology Open

Issue

1

Publisher

SAGE

Publication Date

15/02/2019

Volume

6

Addresses

SPCR studentship: Doug Hardman, Southampton

Keywords

communication, critical health psychology, illness perception, internet, placebo