Latest Issue: Vol 15, No 3 (2018) RSS2 logo

Communication & Medicine

Editor Srikant Sarangi Aalborg University, Denmark

Since its inception in 2004, Communication & Medicine has been consistently interrogating the `black box’ of what is routinely characterised as `the communicative turn’ in healthcare practice in clinical and public health domains. It is now firmly established as a leading forum for these critical debates.

The journal is adopted by The COMET Society which hosts annual conferences every July. The editor is supported by an internationally acclaimed, interdisciplinary advisory board, selectively drawn to represent the well-established traditions of the medical, social and human sciences.

Aims and Scope
Communication & Medicine continues to abide by the following distinctive aims:

• To consolidate different traditions of discourse and communication research in its commitment to an understanding of psychosocial, cultural and ethical aspects of healthcare in contemporary societies.

• To cover the different specialities within medicine and allied healthcare studies.

• To underscore the significance of specific areas and themes by bringing out special issues from time to time.

• To be fully committed to publishing evidence-based, data-driven original studies with practical application and relevance as key guiding principles.

• To be targeted at an interdisciplinary audience, which will include healthcare professionals and researchers and students in the medical, social and human sciences.

• To promote a reader-friendly style and format, including engagements with debates and dialogues on crosscutting themes of topical significance.

Current Issue

Communication & Medicine 15.3 (2018) [2019] - click here to view the table of contents


Indexing & Abstracting/Metrics
CiteScore 2018: 0.4
SJR 2018: 0.123
SNIP 2018: 0.481

H-index: 14 (2015)
Bibliography of Linguistic Literature / Bibliographie Linguistischer Literature (BLL)
EBSCO Communication and Mass Media Index
EBSCO Current Abstracts
IBZ International Bibliography of Periodical Literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences
IBR International Bilbiography of Book Reviews of Scholarly Literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Linguistics and Language Behaviour Abstracts
OCLC Electronic Collections Online
European Reference Index (ERIH Plus)

Publication and Frequency: 3 issues per year from 2011 (volume 8)
ISSN: 1612-1783 (print)
ISSN: 1613-3625 (online)

Professor Srikant Sarangi
Faculty of Humanities
Aalborg University
Kroghstræde 3
DK-9220 Aalborg Ø

Notice Regarding Volumes 1-4
For print copies of Volumes 1-4 as well as online access for those issues please contact the former publisher, Mouton De Gruyter.

Most Recent Articles


Values at work: Comparing affirming and challenging narratives of nurses and physicians in a large health system

Tensions between nurses and physicians have been linked to differences in power, hierarchy, education, compensation and gender. Less attention has been paid to the underlying values on which these differences are predicated. Likewise, little is known about how frequently values conflicts are resolved, and the threats to patient safety unresolved conflicts pose. Our aim was to compare the values embedded in affirming and challenging narratives elicited from nurses and physicians from a large health system. We used thematic analysis and descriptive statistics to assess goodness-of-fit of observed differences in themes. Narratives were coded into eight values categories. Nurses felt affirmed by emotional investment, altruism, humanism, and being of service; for physicians, it was humanism and teamwork. Nurse challenges involved respect, altruism/kindness and emotional investment. For physicians it was also respect and, in addition, professionalism, being of service, humanism and teamwork. Some values affirming narratives, e.g., humanism, were indistinguishable, while for some values challenging narratives e.g., respect, there was virtually no overlap. Participant narratives provide important insights into work-life satisfaction and tensions arising from differences in the underlying values of close working professional groups. Unresolved values conflicts are a potential threat to quality, safety and effective relationships.
Posted: 2020-03-16More...

How working women navigate communication privacy management boundaries when seeking social support during cancer treatment

Working women diagnosed with cancer face difficult decisions about disclosing personal information. A 2017 survey for Cancer and Careers, a non-profit organization assisting cancer patients and survivors with finding and continuing employment, found that women are more likely than men to share their diagnosis with work colleagues, and do so more often to feel supported by co-workers. However, disclosure guidelines for communication about having cancer are difficult to establish, as they may vary widely depending on the individual and the situation. Most research about health self-disclosure has focused on the initial decision to divulge that one has an illness and on the depth of that initial disclosure. The current study was designed to further describe how working women navigate disclosures not only during the initial diagnosis, but throughout treatment and into recovery to gain needed social support. Using the typology of social support and the tenets of Communication Privacy Management Theory, the goal of this study is to share individual narratives of how working women change privacy rules to procure the type of social support needed in each stage of their experience.
Posted: 2020-03-16More...

Psychotherapeutic potential of online self-help groups: Innovative moments in thread openers’ narratives

Previous research has found that online self-help groups related to healthcare can be therapeutic. These therapeutic effects often stem from social support conveyed by respondents; however, relevant studies appear to have overlooked the therapeutic potential of thread openers’ narratives. This article investigates thread openers’ narratives in 80 threads from four online self-help groups for anxiety and depression. The data analysis focuses on unique outcomes (UOs), referring to opportunities for therapeutic change to occur, which are conceptualized within the framework of innovative moments (IMs). The findings indicate that the presence of IMs is what makes online narratives therapeutic, but that they diminish gradually through interactions with respondents. This decline can arguably be attributed to respondents’ provision of unsolicited support, and this implies that most users do not find resolution for their problem through participating in online self-help groups.
Posted: 2020-03-16More...

Dementia and identity: A corpus-based study of an online dementia forum

Dementia is often interpreted as a loss of identity because of the changes it causes in memory, mood and behaviour. Such a binary interpretation impacts the quality of care an individual receives and reinforces stigma surrounding the condition. In this paper, an approach informed by social constructionism considers how people with dementia on an online forum discursively construct identities in relation to dementia. Utilising the tools of corpus linguistics, the study examines six-months of forum contributions, totalling 120,000 words. A close analysis of the keywords dementia, Alz, illness and disease reveals how forum users position themselves around and despite dementia. A collective identity is constructed which asserts shared experiences and the ability to empathise, while in other instances linguistic choices distance the individual from dementia, advocating a distinct, non-dementia identity. The paper illuminates some of the ways that people with dementia negotiate the complexities of identity construction while navigating the challenges of living with chronic illness.
Posted: 2020-03-16More...

The ambiguity of preparing and being prepared for a patient consultation

This paper presents findings from a study on the ways in which counsellors working at national centres for rare disorders in Norway experience preparing, and being prepared for, a face-to-face patient consultation. The research involved semi-structured interviews with five experienced counsellors from different health professional backgrounds working at two separate centres. These interviews were then analysed with reference to the theoretical insights of phenomenologists. The excerpts chosen for this paper shed particular light on the process of preparing for a face-to-face patient consultation. Our findings underline the significance of preparing and being prepared while also drawing attention to the multifaceted, complex and ambiguous nature of the processes involved. Preparing for face-to-face consultations with patients is revealed to require approaches that are thoughtful, flexible and empathic. To be prepared for something one does not yet know is about being open to the unexpected and the unpredictable.
Posted: 2020-03-16More...

Most Viewed Articles


The use of abbreviations in medical records in a multidisciplinary world -- an imminent disaster

Abbreviations are commonly used in the medical world to save time and space whilst writing in the patients’ medical records. As various specialties have evolved, each has developed a collection of commonly used abbreviations within its practice, which may not be recognizable to those not working within the same field. The purpose of this study was to assess whether we, the multidisciplinary team members, correctly interpret the abbreviations used in the medical records. We analysed one week of orthopaedic surgical medical records for the use of abbreviations and assessed their appreciation by other members of the multidisciplinary team by means of a standardized questionnaire. We found great variability in the understanding of these abbreviations by different groups of health care professionals. As expected, the orthopaedic surgeons produced significantly more right answers when compared to the other groups, but even they could correctly interpret just over half (57.24 per cent) of the abbreviations. There were many misinterpretations of the abbreviations across the specialties posing imminent clinical risk. Whilst abbreviations may indeed save time, the observed inter-group variation in correct interpretation of these abbreviations is unacceptable. We recommend that the abbreviations have no place in the multidisciplinary world and their continued use will only lead to eventual clinical error.
Posted: 2008-11-25More...

Laughter, communication problems and dementia

This article investigates how the elderly with dementia and their professional caregivers use laughter as a device to deal with problems related to language production and comprehension. The data consist of two game-playing situations, used to engage the elderly people in memory work. The article shows how the elderly patients recurrently laugh to acknowledge communication difficulties and to show awareness of their potential non-competency. The professional caregivers are shown to use slightly different strategies for responding to laughter segments initiated by the patients, either making the shortcomings part of the conversation or avoiding referring to the lapse explicitly. The laughter strategies used by the patients are compared to those reported in the CA-literature on laughter. It is well known that laughter is used in sequences of trouble and delicacy in both ordinary and institutional contexts, but my study shows that speakers with dementia laugh when they encounter problems related to language production and comprehension. This functional expansion in relation to premorbid occurrence is evidence that laughter fits the definition of compensatory behaviour utilized to overcome communication barriers. Certain conversational skills are preserved in individuals with dementia, but due to their cognitive impairment these resources are utilized in a slightly different way than by healthy speakers.
Posted: 2008-11-25More...

Moral accounts and membership categorization in primary care medical interviews

Although the link between health and morality has been well established, few studies have examined how issues of morality emerge and are addressed in primary care medical encounters. This paper addresses the need to examine morality as it is (re)constructed in everyday health care interactions. A Membership Categorisation Analysis of 96 medical interviews reveals how patients orient to particular membership categories and distance themselves from others as a means of accounting (Buttny 1993; Scott and Lyman 1968) for morally questionable health behaviours. More specifically, this paper examines how patients use membership categorisations in order to achieve specific social identity(ies) (Schubert et al. 2009) through two primary strategies: defensive detailing and prioritizing alternative membership categories. Thus, this analysis tracks the emergence of cultural and moral knowledge about social life as it takes place in primary care medical encounters.
Posted: 2012-02-24More...

Improving patient information leaflets: Developing and applying an evaluative model of patient centeredness for text

The purpose of this paper is to present an evaluative model of patient-centredness for text and to illustrate how this can be applied to patient information leaflets (PILs) that accompany medication in the European Union. Patients have criticized PILs for sidelining their experiences, knowledge and affective needs, and denying their individuality. The health communication paradigm of patient-centredness provides valuable purchase on these issues, taking its starting point in the dignity and integrity of the patient as a person. Employing this evaluative model involves two stages. First, a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis is performed of sender and receiver and of the main discourses in PILs. These aspects are then evaluated using the perspectives of patient-centredness theory relating to the medical practitioner, patient and content. The evaluative model is illustrated via a PIL for medication for depression and panic attacks. Evaluation reveals a preponderance of biomedical statements, with a cluster of patient-centred statements primarily relating to the construction of the patient. The paper contributes a new method and evaluative approach to PIL and qualitative health research, as well as outlining a method that facilitates the investigation of interdiscursivity, a recent focus of critical genre analysis.
Posted: 2013-12-10More...

The negotiation of the problem statement in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy which is characterized by being highly structured, outcomes focused and time limited. The literature concerning CBT is extensive but it has primarily focused on the outcomes of therapy with limited qualitative studies investigating the process of CBT. In this present study we investigate how the CBT model is implemented in therapeutic interaction through a focus on the conversion of the client’s problem into CBT terms and its ultimate articulation as the problem statement. The problem statement is an integral part of the form of CBT studied from which the subsequent therapy is derived. Drawing on theme-oriented discourse analysis we examine the first two sessions of the treatment of one client using a number of tools derived from discourse and conversation analysis. This case study was drawn from a larger corpus of the CBT treatment of ten clients. The expertise of the therapist in applying the generic CBT model of therapy to the client’s particular problem is a focus of this study.
Posted: 2010-10-22More...



2020 COMET Conference


The 18th International Conference on Communication, Medicine, and Ethics (COMET) is hosted by Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark, 01-03 July 2020.

Click here to visit the Conference website

Posted: 2019-11-21 More...
More Announcements...

Vol 15, No 3 (2018)

Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Table of Contents


Dementia and identity: A corpus-based study of an online dementia forum PDF
Annika Bailey 249-260
How working women navigate communication privacy management boundaries when seeking social support during cancer treatment PDF
Donna M. Elkins 261-267
Values at work: Comparing affirming and challenging narratives of nurses and physicians in a large health system PDF
Richard M. Frankel , Orit Karnieli-Miller , Thomas S. Inui 268-281
The ambiguity of preparing and being prepared for a patient consultation PDF
Wibeche Ingskog , Wenche S. Bjorbækmo 282-292
Psychotherapeutic potential of online self-help groups: Innovative moments in thread openers’ narratives PDF
Jesse W.C. Yip 293-305

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