Medications, youth therapeutic cultures and performance consumptions: a sociological approach.

Noémia Lopes, Telmo Clamote, Hélder Raposo, Elsa Pegado, Carla Rodrigues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses performance consumptions among young people. The theme is explored along two main axes. The first concerns the social heterogeneity in this field, considered on two levels: the different purposes for those investments - cognitive/mental and physical performance; and the different social contexts - university and work - where performance practices and dispositions may be fostered. The second axis explores the roles of pharmacological and natural consumptions, and their interrelationship, in the dissemination of these practices. The empirical data for this analysis were drawn from an ongoing research project on performance consumptions among young people (aged 18-29 years) in Portugal, including both university students and young workers without university education. The results correspond to the stage of extensive research, for which a questionnaire was organised at a national level, using non-proportional quota sampling. On the one hand, they show that (a) there is a hierarchy of acceptance of consumptions according to their purposes, with cognitive/mental performance showing higher acceptance and (b) both pharmaceuticals and natural products are consumed for every type of performance investment. On the other, the comparison between students and workers introduces a certain heterogeneity in this general backdrop, both in terms of the purposes for their consumptions and their opting for natural or pharmacological resources. These threads of heterogeneity will prompt a discussion of the dynamics of pharmaceuticalisation within the field of performance, in particular how therapeutic cultures may be changing in terms of the way individuals relate to medications, expanding their uses in social life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-448
JournalHealth (United Kingdom)
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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