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June 1986

Changes in Popular Attitudes and Beliefs About Tranquilizers: 1970-1979

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Research in Social Behavior, Oakland, Calif (Ms Clinthorne and Dr Mellinger); the Social Research Group, The George Washington University, Washington, DC (Dr Cisin); the Applied Therapeutics and Health Practices Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md (Dr Balter); and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago (Dr Uhlenhuth).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(6):527-532. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800060017003

• In nationwide surveys of the extent and nature of psychotherapeutic drug use conducted in 1970 and 1979, respondents were also questioned about their knowledge of tranquilizers and attitudes toward the use of these medications in general and in specific situations. In both 1970 and 1979, most Americans believed that tranquilizers were effective; by 1979, however, we found a sharp increase in the proportion of respondents who believed that these medications were overprescribed. Reservations about the effects of tranquilizers on health, mood, and behavior had also become more widespread by 1979. In both 1970 and 1979, however, respondents were generally more accepting of tranquilizer use when presented with practical situations pitting benefit against risk. A majority condoned the use of tranquilizers in situations involving pronounced impairment.

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