The shift from corporate punishment to psychotropic drugs : From interviews with staff at Children’s Home Y in Prefecture Z
Yoshida, Kohei Tohoku Bunkyo College
Departmental Bulletin Paper
This paper explores changes in the handling of problem behavior in children residing at children’s homes, particularly over the period of 1980-2000, from the perspective of medicalization (Conrad and Schneider 1992=2003). We chose Children’s Home Y, which exhibited advancement the administration of psychotropic drugs to children, for research purposes, conducting semi-structured interviews with eight staff members working at the facility.
Our research revealed that a large number of delinquent children resided at Children’s Home Y through the 1980s, and that it was an everyday occurrence for staff to restrain violent children. By the 1990s, however, as corporal punishment became taboo as children’s rights came to the fore, this type of punishment was no longer acceptable. As of the early 2000s, specialized mental health staff have been assigned to children’s homes, while full-time psychiatrists are now assigned to child consultation centers. At this time it became easier for children with behavioral problems to be diagnosed as ADHD, and psychotropic drugs have clearly have been prescribed more frequently.
Handling of behavioral problems in these children saw a major shift from corporate punishment to administration of psychotropic drugs, along with a trend toward medicalization. At the same time, interviews with staff indicated a certain degree of uneasiness with regard to the possibility over-medication, as well as concern over side effects of psychotropic drugs.
Regional Science Research
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Integrated Arts and Sciences