“It actually works for me” – The presence of homeopathy in the Spanish digital press

“It actually works for me” – The presence of homeopathy in the Spanish digital press

Author: Myriam Marti-Sanchez – ESIC Business and Marketing School, Spain

Ramon Camaño Puig – University of Valencia
Mavi Corell-Domenech – Florida Universitaria (Valencia)
Vanessa Roger-Monzo – ESIC Business and Marketing School

Instinctively, when a person with migraines to whom they prescribe a homeopathic treatment feels the improvement, he or she tends to make an automatic association: “It actually works for me.” However, the brain tends to interpret correlative facts as causal, amongst many other factors.

Homeopathy, included in the list of 139 pseudotherapies recognized since 2011 by the Spanish Ministry of Health, has not shown effectiveness beyond placebo, so it is very likely that the improvement after its application is due to this effect.

The aim of this study is to analyse and evaluate the treatment of the Spanish digital press on information articles related to homeopathy.

To address the research, a content analysis of journal articles published between January 1st, 2012 and December 31st, 2016 on homeopathy has been developed in the three most widely read digital press of general information and ideological orientation of Spain: El País, El Mundo and ABC.

The initial search returned 292 results. After examining all the articles, there were only selected those in which the different uses of homeopathy were treated with detail. Due to the term “homeopathy” has been used metaphorically or superficially, without deepening in the therapy, 115 articles have finally been included in this study. After completing the sample, the corpus was examined with the content analysis and proceeded to obtain data.

The results make possible to clarify the role of media in the transmission of information on homeopathy and to propose a whitepaper of good practices aimed to provide contents for journalism which are useful for health and well-being of the population.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices