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Using a comparative corpus-assisted approach to study health and illness discourses across domains: the case of postnatal depression (PND) in lay, medical and media texts

Kinloch, K. and Jaworska, S. (2019) Using a comparative corpus-assisted approach to study health and illness discourses across domains: the case of postnatal depression (PND) in lay, medical and media texts. In: Demjen, Z. (ed.) Applying linguistics in Illness and Healthcare Contexts. Bloomsbury. (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

In this chapter we highlight the benefits of a comparative corpus-assisted discourse approach to health communication (Jaworska and Kinloch 2018) by examining discursive representations of postnatal depression (PND) in lay, medical and media accounts. PND is an important case to study; it is a highly stigmatised condition which in the UK affects 10-15 in every 100 women and is the leading cause of maternal death (Oates 2003; NHS 2016). Our study endeavours to contribute to a better understanding of the lived experience of PND through a comparative analysis of discourses about the condition produced by mothers in an online discussion forum, the medical profession and the UK print media. We focus specifically on the ways in which the condition – PND – is discursively constructed across different types of texts and the extent to which medical and media discourses around PND are re-contextualised by mothers and how mothers position themselves vis-à-vis the social stigma. To this end, we examine the use of the acronym PND (as opposed to the term postnatal depression) in three large data sets (corpora) including: 1) lay narratives sourced from Mumsnet, 2) information by clinicians for lay people and 3) articles about PND from British newspapers. Analysis of a large dataset of language on a particular topic has clear potential benefits for the study of health language, particularly in gathering evidence of discursive practices around a particular user group or condition.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Pharmacy Practice Research Group
ID Code:77236
Uncontrolled Keywords:postnatal depression, comparative corpus-assisted approach, stigma, online discussion forum, media discourse, lay discourse
Publisher:Bloomsbury

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