The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

The online use of Violence and Journey metaphors by patients with cancer, as compared with health professionals: a mixed methods study

Semino, Elena; Demjen, Zsofia; Demmen, Jane; Koller, Veronika; Payne, Sheila; Hardie, Andrew and Rayson, Paul (2017). The online use of Violence and Journey metaphors by patients with cancer, as compared with health professionals: a mixed methods study. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, 7(1) pp. 60–66.

Full text available as:
[img]
Preview
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (430kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjspcare-2014-000785
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

Objective To compare the frequencies with which patients with cancer and health professionals use Violence and Journey metaphors when writing online; and to investigate the use of these metaphors by patients with cancer, in view of critiques of war-related metaphors for cancer and the adoption of the notion of the ‘cancer journey’ in UK policy documents.

Design Computer-assisted quantitative and qualitative study of two data sets totalling 753 302 words.

Setting A UK-based online forum for patients with cancer (500 134 words) and a UK-based website for health professionals (253 168 words).

Participants 56 patients with cancer writing online between 2007 and 2012; and 307 health professionals writing online between 2008 and 2013.

Results Patients with cancer use both Violence metaphors and Journey metaphors approximately 1.5 times per 1000 words to describe their illness experience. In similar online writing, health professionals use each type of metaphor significantly less frequently. Patients’ Violence metaphors can express and reinforce negative feelings, but they can also be used in empowering ways. Journey metaphors can express and reinforce positive feelings, but can also be used in disempowering ways.

Conclusions Violence metaphors are not by default negative and Journey metaphors are not by default a positive means of conceptualising cancer. A blanket rejection of Violence metaphors and an uncritical promotion of Journey metaphors would deprive patients of the positive functions of the former and ignore the potential pitfalls of the latter. Instead, greater awareness of the function (empowering or disempowering) of patients’ metaphor use can lead to more effective communication about the experience of cancer.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 The Authors
ISSN: 2045-4368
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Metaphor in End of Life CareES/J007927/1ESRC
Extra Information: 8 pp.
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Language & Literacies
Item ID: 42301
Depositing User: Zsofia Demjen
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2015 09:39
Last Modified: 18 May 2017 02:33
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/42301
Share this page:

Altmetrics

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk