Who are the Experts? Medicalization in Teen Magazine Advice Columns

Sociological Studies of Children and Youth

ISBN: 978-0-76231-256-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-376-1

ISSN: 1537-4661

Publication date: 27 October 2005


Medicalization is the increasing social control of the everyday by medical experts. It is a key concept in the sociology of health and illness because it sees medicine as not merely a scientific endeavor, but a social one as well. Medicalization is a “process whereby more and more of everyday life has come under medical dominion, influence, and supervision” (Zola, 1983, p. 295); previously these areas of everyday life were viewed in religious or moral terms (Conrad & Schneider, 1980; Weeks, 2003). More specifically, medicalization is the process of “defining a problem in medical terms, using medical language to describe a problem, adopting a medical framework to understand a problem, or using a medical intervention to ‘treat’ it” (Conrad, 1992, p. 211). Sociologists have used this concept to describe the shift in the site of decision-making and knowledge about health from the lay public to the medical profession.


McCabe, J. (2005), "Who are the Experts? Medicalization in Teen Magazine Advice Columns", Kinney, D. and Brown Rosier, K. (Ed.) Sociological Studies of Children and Youth (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 153-191. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1537-4661(05)11006-X

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