Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology

First Advisor

Alejandro Cerón, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard Clemmer-Smith

Third Advisor

Sarah Hamilton


Anthropology, Biomedicine, Bio-psycho-social, Children, Mental health, Psychotropic medications


This project explores mental health professionals' perspectives on the prescription of psychotropic medications to children. It emphasizes the placement of biomedicine within its larger social, economic, and political context, and the influence these structures have on the way mental illness is conceptualized and treated in children. Eight semi-structured interviews were conducted in Denver, Colorado with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and a pharmaceutical board member to capture multiple perspectives from different positionalities within the field. Participants discussed factors that they believe influence prescribing practices including: professional role changes, issues of access, limited evidence, cost, and institutional pressures to practice within a biomedical model of care. This thesis suggests that the supremacy of biomedicine has changed the conversation of mental health so drastically over the past forty years that psychological and social factors are no longer being legitimately considered as part of mental health care, to the detriment of children in need of services.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Elinor Jane Brereton


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

93 p.


Mental health, Cultural anthropology