Sunday, September 07, 2008

Times Have (Not) Changed

I was curious to see if American attitudes toward mental health issues had changed, so I proposed a highly unscientific poll. I'm just about done with GlowDay for polls (for one thing, I can't close them), I've found a provider that I'm hoping will be better for the next one.

In 1972, Sen. Thomas Eagleton dropped out of the race as McGovern's VP pick after it was discovered that he had twice undergone ECT therapy for depression, commonly referred to as "shock treatment". At the time, Time Magazine conducted a poll and found that 77% of the responders said that his medical record would not affect their vote. McGovern replaced him anyway, fearing that the press would eventually succeed in making an issue out of it.

My highly unscientific straw poll says that 73% feel the same way today... essentially unchanged, I'd say. Interesting that with all the press there has been (especially about the "Prozac revolution") and with all the discoveries about the causes and effects of mental illness since 1972, that the result hasn't changed significantly. I wish Time would repeat their poll today so we could have better sampling methodology!


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