«I heard about some pills»: the online as a sharing space and source of information about performance consumption among students
Issue Date: 
2023
Publisher: 
Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
ISSN: 
2386-7876
Citation: 
Egreja, C. (Catarina); Elias, R. (Rúben); Lopes, Noémia. "«I heard about some pills»: the online as a sharing space and source of information about performance consumption among students". Communication & Society. 36 (3), 2023, 119 - 132
Abstract
Departing from a broader sociological study, this article presents exploratory research seeking to analyse practices of online information exchange on the consumption of medicines and food supplements among students, mainly to improve cognitive performance. It aims to show that the Internet is a relevant space which should be considered when analysing where lay people, specifically students, get information about medicines. The empirical field was limited to online open discussion forums, websites, and blogs registered in Portugal, and the collected information was subjected to a qualitative content analysis. The research took place between January 2021 and February 2022, and the analysed threads date back to March 2015. The results show that young people use these platforms to ask questions related to the consumption of medicines and supplements for cognitive performance. While sharing experiences is central to the validation of practices and behaviours, key elements in this discussion also include the construction of a shared social identity, the possibility of anonymity, and the attribution of credibility to the sources of information.

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