Understanding one's health conditions plays a key role in a patient's response to illness, influencing stress levels and the likelihood of following treatment regimens and advice. Thus, the explanation of illness is a critical component of the interactions between health care providers and their patients. Emphasizing these exchanges and their potential for improving health and well being, Bryan B. Whaley has assembled this collection to serve both as a foundation for further research on explaining illness and as a resource for provider-patient interaction.
Contributors from the communication and health care disciplines examine the purpose and methods of explaining illness, as well as the role that illness explanations play in framing and reframing meaning and uncertainty regarding one's health welfare. Including theoretical, developmental, and cultural factors, the elegance of this book is the richness in the differences among populations and communication strategies, and the articulation of the intricacies of language, illness, and culture in the explanations.
As a resource for scholars and students of communication, medicine, nursing, public health, social work, and related areas, this volume establishes a benchmark from which to examine and evaluate current theory and strategies in explaining illness, and to launch systematic research endeavors. Health practitioners will also find the book invaluable in their exchanges with their patients, as a unique source of information on the factors influencing the explanation of illness.
Table of Contents
Contents: R.M. Glass, Foreword. Preface. Acknowledgments. Part I:Foundational Theoretical Issues. T.L. Thompson, The Nature and Language of Illness Explanations. A.S. Babrow, S.C. Hines, C.R. Kasch, Managing Uncertainty in Illness Explanation: An Application of Problematic Integration Theory. K.E. Rowan, Explaining Illness Through the Mass Media: The Problem-Solving Perspective. C.M. Gillotti, J. Applegate, Explaining Illness as Bad News: Individual Differences in Explaining Illness-Related Information. Part II:Populations and New Sources of Explanation. T.C. Davis, M.V. Williams, W.T. Branch, K.W. Green, Explaining Illness to Patients With Limited Literacy. A.S. Gabbard-Alley, Explaining Illness: An Examination of Message Strategies and Gender. J.F. Nussbaum, L. Pecchioni, J.A. Grant, A. Folwell, Explaining Illness to Older Adults: The Complexities of the Provider-Patient Interaction as We Age. B.B. Whaley, Explaining Illness to Children: Theory, Strategies, and Future Inquiry. J.C. Schommer, Pharmacists' New Communicative Role: Explaining Illness and Medicine to Patients. Part III:Cocultural Issues and Explaining Illness. L. Tom-Orme, Native Americans Explaining Illness: Storytelling as Illness Experience. D. Cora-Bramble, L. Williams, Explaining Illness to Latinos: Cultural Foundations and Messages. G.A. Yep, Explaining Illness to Asian and Pacific Islander Americans: Culture, Communication, and Boundary Regulation. C. Stroman, Explaining Illness to African Americans: Employing Cultural Concerns With Strategies. B. Korsch, Commentary and Continued Concerns.
"This thoroughly researched work should be of great benefit to all students in the health professions, and especially to medical students who are about to meet their first patients. Whaley has done an excellent job of editing the content of the 14 chapters, all written by different authors."
"As interests in how illness is communicated in America converge from multiple domains of inquiry, this monograph can provide a solid groundwork for anyone serious about health communication research in the past, present, and future."
—Communication Booknotes Quarterly
"This book reviews research and discusses the theoretical issues associated with explaining illness to patients, with a focus on the needs of specific subgroups of patients....this book contributes to the literature by providing a number of comprehensive reviews of contemporary research....What distinguishes this book from the other literature in the field is its concentration on specific patient populations, especially with concern to ethnic minorities."
—Social Science and Medicine
"From the extensive literature reviews, compelling theoretical arguments, and potentially significant suggestions for application and practice woven throughout the book, it is clear that this will be a pivotal contribution to the field of health communication....This is the kind of 'state of the art' volume that will help to set the agenda for health communication scholars and will be cited for the ways in which it crystallizes the issues and envisions new kinds of questions....This book will be of interest as a scholarly text for advanced students of health communication and a reference work for researchers across the social, behavioral, and health sciences."
"This edited work brings together a diverse body of research on explaining illness that has not previously been drawn together. This is a significant accomplishment....In my opinion, Whaley's edited text on Explaining Illness is an excellent compilation of a diverse set of research in this important area of language inquiry. It will be useful to academics and practitioners alike. I eagerly anticipate the next volume in this area of inquiry."
—Journal of Language and Social Psychology