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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2016 Nov;68(11):1721-1725. doi: 10.1002/acr.22879. Epub 2016 Oct 5.

"You Don't Have to Be a Drinker to Get Gout, But It Helps": A Content Analysis of the Depiction of Gout in Popular Newspapers.

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Stefanie D. Duyck, BPsych: University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, and University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



To analyze the depiction of gout and its management in popular newspapers.


We conducted a content analysis of popular newspaper articles for reporting about the causes, management, and depictions of gout. The Factiva database was used to identify articles from the 21 highest circulation newspapers in the UK and US from August 2010 to August 2015. Articles with a primary focus on gout were analyzed (n = 114).


Overindulgence of certain foods and beverages was most commonly reported as the cause of gout (72 of 114 articles). The range of dietary advice for gout management was extensive, with advice to decrease intake of 44 different food and beverage items and increase intake of 17 different food and beverage items. Strong advice was given for 23 of 40 dietary strategies (58%), 13 of 29 antiinflammatory strategies (45%), and 4 of 42 urate-lowering therapy strategies (10%) (P < 0.0001). Serum urate monitoring or treatment targets were rarely reported. Social embarrassment due to gout was reported in 27 of 114 articles (23.7%). Jokes or humorous references to gout were reported in 30 of 114 articles (26.3%), often highlighting causal beliefs related to lifestyle and drinking alcohol.


Popular newspaper articles depict gout as a self-inflicted condition that is socially embarrassing and the focus of humor. Dietary solutions are overemphasized compared to effective urate-lowering strategies. Initiatives that challenge popular perceptions of gout may play an important role in changing public understanding about the disease, ultimately increasing the uptake of effective urate-lowering therapy and reducing reliance on unproven strategies.

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