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Lecture 5

Health Psychology Lecture 5.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Scotney Evans

Week 3 Lecture 5 Health Psychology Lay Representations of Illness Lay Representations of Illness • Medical literature provides a relatively clear depiction of illness • Much more complicated when seen through the eyes of an individual • Coloured by representations related to: o Media o Society and culture o Cognitions o Personal experiences and narratives Media Representations of Illness Popular Sources of Information about Mental Illness TV Newsmagazine Shows 70% Newspapers 58% TV News 51% News Magazines 34% TV Talk Shows 31% Radio News 26% Other Magazines 26% Internet 25% Non-Fiction Books 25% Talk Shows on Radio 18% Women’s Magazines 18% • Not many movies or novels or other media sources view personality disorders as both positive and accurate or negative and accurate; our perception of mental illnesses tend to be false for media representations tend to be tilted in order to make money Social Representations of Illness • Shared group/community values, belief, and practices regarding illness and disease o i.e. Common sense o orient individuals to their social context and facilitates communication o Ex. Health in western culture as a metaphor for self-control, willpower, and ‘good’  Represented on what you do on a daily basis o Ex. Living with Diabetes in Rural and Urban Ghana (Aikins 2003)  Researchers talked to those living with diabetes about their experiences and who responded and how to their diabetes  Some aspects of diabetes: • Sugar Disease: if you eat too much sugar you will get diabetes • Disease of the Wealthy: representation based on those in the rural centers • Physiology, hereditary, food quality Week 3 Lecture 5 • Bought Disease: based in rural context, the view that you have been given diabetes through another or higher power or sorcery due to you or your family doing something bad • Aids: initial case where sufferers had a voice (ex. Compare to syphilis) • Cognitive Polyphasia o Deals with how people deal with two different points of view o Where opposing bits of knowledge from differing sources of knowing o Ex. Being treated simultaneously with Western and Chinese treatments o Ex. Put a coat on because you will get cold, even though you know this is not how you get colds Personal/Cognitive Representations of Illness • One way to look at this is through questionnaire’s • Illness Perception Questionnaire: researcher’s wrote down 5 main perceptions when discussing or having an illness o Identity: signs, symptoms and the illness label o Consequences: perceived physical, social, economic, and emotional consequences o Causes: the perceived cause o Timeline: the perceived time frame for the development and duration o Cure/Control:
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