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Lecture 10

ANTHROP 3HI3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Stomach Cancer, Asthma, Somatization

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ANTHROP 3HI3 Lecture 10
February 8, 2016 February 8, 2016
Priscilla Medeiros, 1
Explanatory Models of Illness
Defining the Explanatory Model:
“The notions that patients, families, and practitioners have about a specific illness
episode to ignore them may be fatal.” (Kleinman 1988: 121)
Interactions between patient and practitioner in order to get a broader understanding of
the issues surrounding health
Good way to explain why a condition or phenomenon is occurring
This is done through negotiation in the patient-practitioner relationship
A Patient’s Explanatory Model:
Questions people ask themselves when they see themselves as ill practitioners
should consider these when trying to diagnose a patient
1. What has happened?
2. Why has it happened?
3. Why has this happened to me?
4. Why now?
5. What would happen to me if nothing were done about it?
6. What are the likely effects on other people?
o Loss of income, strains on family relationships, loss of employment, etc.
7. What should I do about it?
o Or Whom should I turn to for further help?
o William Steele
o Suffers from asthma for two years and it is getting worse gradually
o Has been tested for allergies, etc. and there is no history of asthma in his family
o Had frequent respiratory issues as a child, but his condition is unknown
o Asthma began à Attack of wheezing on his 40th birthday
§ Had a terrible dream after his party, and he woke up coughing and
choking (first attack)
o Believes he cant control his life anymore, and his family is affected by it too (wife
feels that the marriage is becoming disastrous)
§ He can’t tolerate his kids behaviour
§ The only topic of conversation is health and illness
o For step 7, William turned to psychotherapy, antidepressants and marriage
§ He felt a significant change in his symptoms and psychological state
§ His marriage improved and his career change law office to working with
o Had he not addressed all of these questions, it would have been difficult for a
healer to do this for him
A Practitioner’s Explanatory Model:
Practitioners are most interested in the following in order to reach a diagnosis:
1. Cause of the condition
2. Timing and mode of onset
3. Pathophysiology
o Biological manifestations of disease
4. Severity of the illness.
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