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Agenda-Setting Theory in Public Policy Essay

Nowadays it is possible to find a few people who do not think that mass media affect, to some extent, public opinion. Admittedly, people find out about numerous events and phenomena from mass media. This assumption can be regarded as a basis for the agenda-setting theory. The theory’s major point is that mass media decide what is the most important news and what event (or person) “deserves” less attention.

It is necessary to point out that the basic points of the agenda-setting theory are plausible, and the strength of the theory lies in the fact that media do shape public opinion to certain extent, but the weakness of the theory is that mass media’s impact is somewhat over-estimated.

McCombs and Shaw claim that people “learn not only about a given issue, but also how much importance to attach to that issue from the amount of information”, in this way media are setting the “agenda” (1972, 176). Admittedly, this basic assumption of their theory is plausible since mass media do “sorts” news and adhere different levels of importance to each event and person.

Thus, many people follow the set “agenda” and pay more attention to most important and less attention to least important. Besides, this principle works in the same way when it deals with political campaigns.

One of the greatest strengths of the agenda-setting theory is that it presents “a vast wealth of research on the impact of mass media content on the public agenda” (McCombs and Ghanem 2003, 68). The theory reveals the major processes which influence public opinion. It is especially relevant when considering political campaigns since at present the “information in the mass media becomes the only contact many have with politics” (McCombs and Shaw 1972, 176).

Thus, politicians’ pledges are perceived through the vision of mass media. Apparently, when mass media highlight the campaign of a politician and there is nothing said about others, people can forget about the existence of “others”.

However, apart from the strengths the agenda-setting theory has quite a significant weakness. Crespi states that the theory “does not accept the discredited image of all-powerful mass media”, but “does ascribe a major role to them [mass media] in the public opinion process” (1997, 40). Nevertheless, even the major role of mass media is quite a disputable issue.

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More McCombs and Ghanem claim that the plausibility of the agenda-setting theory is supported by the fact that voters do not have “alternative means of observing the day-to-day changes in the political arena” (2003, 185). However, it is not taken into account that voters are usually exposed to different types of mass media.

Admittedly, various newspapers and magazines set different agendas. Some people prefer reading this or that newspaper or magazine because it highlights campaigns and activities of a certain politician. In this case, the voter sets his own agenda by choosing this or that source of information.

These cases are not rare; on the contrary they are rather common. Thus, this is the most evident weakness of the theory which assumes that mass media play the primary role.

In conclusion, it is possible to point out that the agenda-setting theory is very important in terms of the study of mass media impact on public opinion. The major strength of the study is that it reveals certain processes which define the impact of mass media. However, the major weakness of the theory is that it regards mass media as primary source of public agenda shaping.

Bibliography Crespi, Irving. The Public Opinion Process: How the People Speak. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 1997.

McCombs, Maxwell and Salma I. Ghanem. “The Convergence of Agenda Setting and Framing.” In Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World, edited by Oscar H. Gandy, August E. Grant, Stephen D. Reese, 67-83. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2003.

McCombs, Maxwell E. and Donald L. Shaw “The Agenda-Setting Function of Mass Media.” Public Opinion Quarterly 36, no. 2 (1972): 176-187.

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Bipolar II Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Research Paper

Nursing Assignment Help Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis defined by one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood which can be combined or not with one or more depressive episodes.

There are three main types of bipolar disorder, including bipolar I disorder characterized with at least one manic or mixed episode, bipolar II disorder defined by at least one hypomanic and at least one depressive episode and bipolar NOS which does not belong to either of the subgroups.

This paper will discuss the difficulties of identifying the symptoms of bipolar II disorder which is recognized as the most frequent one, the stages of assessment required for the adequate diagnosis of condition and the effectiveness and challenges of different treatments and their combination.

Regardless of the fact that the bipolar disorder is the sixth recognized cause of disability in America, it is a chronic psychiatric disease which can often be misdiagnosed (Leahy 417).

Diagnosing of the bipolar II disorder is complicated with its complex and diverse presentation of the symptoms. Medical comorbidity characteristic of this condition is another influential factor which should be taken into account for assessing all the symptoms in their complexity.

“Medical conditions found at increased rates include coronary heart disease, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, dysplidemias, and hepatitis” (Leahy 418). These comorbid medical conditions can be the consequences of the reduced self-care which exacerbate the depression and stress in patients with bipolar II disorder.

Practitioners have to recognize not only mania itself as the diagnostic sign for the bipolar disorder, but also hypomania and mixed states (Leahy 419). Patients can quickly move from one condition to another and try to conceal certain symptoms which are critical for diagnosing this psychiatric disease.

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More The process of the premedication assessment is significantly complicated with the fact that patients with bipolar II disorder frequently have more than one mental dysfunction. This group of comorbid conditions includes anxiety, personality disorders and substance abuse which in their turn can increase the rates of aggressively, impulsivity and even suicidality.

A comprehensive and detailed clinical assessment of the prior history of psychiatric conditions and the current mental state should be undertaken for formulating the right diagnosis, developing and implementing the most effective intervention strategies (Malhi et al 2065).

Taking into account the fact that patients with bipolar disorder not only frequently do not recognize their disease, but also can have poor recollections of concrete episodes, it is necessary to consult their friends and family members for obtaining more accurate information and identifying the symptom patterns.

Thus, the adequate diagnosis of bipolar II disorder requires a detailed assessment of not only actual symptoms, but also the possible comorbid physical and mental conditions, analysis of the past psychiatric history and the current condition.

The common treatments used for the patients with bipolar II disorder include the combination of psychological treatments and pharmacotherapy. Thus, the common psychological treatments include interpersonal social group, family-focused and cognitive-behavioral types (Leahy 419).

Regarding the pharmacological treatments for bipolar depression, the drugs which can be effective for improving the patients’ condition and reducing the risks of suicide include anti-depressants and non-antidepressants. The group of non-antidepressants includes lithium salts, anticolvunsants and antipsychotics.

Currently, polytherapy as a combination of different drugs and treatment patterns is recognized as the most effective intervention strategy (Baldessarini 148).

We will write a custom Research Paper on Bipolar II Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More It should be noted that the abrupt drug discontinuation causes the recurrence of anxiety and can be followed by hypomanic episodes. Thus, the treatments for the patients with bipolar II disorder need to include a combination of drugs and psychosocial rehabilitative efforts.

Taking into account the fact that the adequate diagnosis and effective treatment of the bipolar disorder II remains an unsolved challenge for modern psychiatric practitioners, it can be stated that serious consideration should be given to complex approaches to the assessment, diagnosing and treatment of the patients with the symptoms of bipolar II disorder.

Works Cited Baldessarini, Ross, Eduard Vieta, Joseph Calabrese, Mauricio Tohen and Charles Bowden. “Bipolar Depression: Overview and Commentary”. Harvard Review Psychiatry May/June 2010, 18: 143-157.

Leahy, Robert. “Bipolar Disorders: Causes, Contexts, and Treatments”. Journal of Clinical Psychology 2007, 63(5): 417-424.

Malhi, Jin, Danielle Adams, Catherine Cahill, Seetal Dodd and Michael Berk. “The Management of Individuals with Bipolar Disorder: A Review of the Evidence and Its Integration into Clinical Practice”. Drugs 2009, 69(15): 2063-2101