Desire and disappointment: adolescent psychotropic treatment and adherence.


This paper situates medication adherence among adolescents in current cultural and political-economic debates about compliance/adherence and the formation of biomedical subjectivities. Building on prior work of the authors, this paper explores the role of desire in adherence to show how subjectivities are shaped by concordant, instrumental, or conditional forms of desire. Data is used to show how parents and adolescents compare the medicated self before and after, resulting in the formation of desire. It is argued that adherence is an outcome of desire: no desire, no adherence, or varying types of desire. Moreover, adherence is not a steady state. It is produced moment to moment as adolescents confront the desires of others. The study uses interview data to construct a case study of concordant desire, which is a form most likely to produce adherence. With concordant desire the medicated come to expect a future life on medication and a life where symptoms are stripped of their social and psychological meaning and significance.

DOI: 10.1080/13648470.2010.493599

Cite this paper

@article{Longhofer2010DesireAD, title={Desire and disappointment: adolescent psychotropic treatment and adherence.}, author={Jeffrey Longhofer and Jerry E. Floersch}, journal={Anthropology & medicine}, year={2010}, volume={17 2}, pages={159-72} }