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  • Violence and Journey metaphors for cancer

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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Issue number1
Volume7
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)60-66
<mark>State</mark>Published
Early online date5/03/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Objective To compare the frequencies with which cancer patients and health professionals use Violence and Journey metaphors when writing online; and to investigate cancer patients’ use of these metaphors, 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 datasets totalling 753,302 words.

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

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

Results Cancer patients use both Violence metaphors and Journey metaphors approximately 1.5 times per 1,000 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.

Bibliographic note

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/