Introduction and Objectives. The importance of the study of social representations of mental disorders and psychiatry in music, and particularly in songs lyrics, have been discussed in previous communications. It is a small-explored topic, and most published articles do not exhibit a rigorous research methodology. In this communication, we review the methods used in published studies addressing depictions of mental disorders or mental health concerns in music (advantages and limitations); in order to propose a framework for the study of the social representations of psychiatry and mental disorders in song lyrics.
Methods. Descriptive study. Methods used in thirty-seven articles addressing the depictions of mental disorders or mental health issues in music were reviewed. Frequencies of the research methods used are provided. Finally, a theoretical review of the advantages and limitations of different research strategies was performed.
Results/Conclusion. Research designs are heterogenous between studies. Despite Content Analysis was the most frequent research strategy identified, there is a high representation of opinion articles or essays. Quantitative methods are rarely used (if we consider Content Analysis as a Qualitative Strategy). Content analysis is frequently used in studies addressing exposition to risk factors (mostly, depictions of substance use). We propose a mixed method by using descriptive statistics (frequency measures of references to mental disorders in song lyrics, that is a quantitative content analysis), followed by qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis. This strategy allows a deeper approximation to the contents, favoring the access to the social meanings of psychiatry or mental disorders expressed throught music.