Latest Issue: Vol 13, No 2 (2016) 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.

Forthcoming Issue

CAM 13.3 (2016) [2017]

Table of Contents


María Luisa Carrió-Pastor

Tonia Crawford, Peter Roger and Sally Candlin

Gunilla Jansson and Cecilia Wadensjö

Dalia Magaña

Pauliina Siitonen, Tiina Keisanen and Karl-Erik Wahlberg

Indexing and Abstracting
H-index: 14 (2015)
SJR: 0.176

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


Patients’ practices for taking the initiative in decision-making in outpatient psychiatric consultations

In spite of increasing advocacy for patients’ participation in psychiatric decision-making, there has been little research on how patients actually participate in decision-making in psychiatric consultations. This study explores how patients take the initiative in decision-making over treatment in outpatient psychiatric consultations in Japan. Using the methodology of conversation analysis, we analyze 85 video-recorded ongoing consultations and find that patients select between two practices for taking the initiative in decision-making: making explicit requests for a treatment and displaying interest in a treatment without explicitly requesting it. A close inspection of transcribed interaction reveals that patients make explicit requests under the circumstances where they believe the candidate treatment is appropriate for their condition, whereas they merely display interest in a treatment when they are not certain about its appropriateness. By fitting practices to take the initiative in decision-making with the way they describe their current condition, patients are optimally managing their desire for particular treatments and the validity of their initiative actions. In conclusion, we argue that the orderly use of the two practices is one important resource for patients’ participation in treatment decision-making.
Posted: 2017-01-06More...

Verbal compliance-gaining strategies used by male physicians and patient healthcare experience

This study explores male physicians’ use of verbal compliance gaining strategies to encourage patients to adhere to medication regimens, lifestyle changes, or future appointments, and assesses which strategies are associated with patients’ reported healthcare experiences. Five physicians from a family practice clinic in northern British Columbia, Canada, were audio-recorded while interacting with 31 patients during actual consultations. Compliance-gaining utterances were coded into five categories of strategies, while patient experience with care was assessed using a questionnaire. A number of intriguing findings emerged: direct orders were related to a more negative experience with interpersonal aspects of care, but were fairly frequently used, especially with female patients. Persuasion was the only strategy that promoted a positive patient experience, but was rarely used. However, the effect of persuasion on patient experience was no longer significant when adjusting for patients’ health status. Physicians relied mostly on motivation strategies to encourage adherence, but these strategies were not related to patients’ assessment of their healthcare experiences. These results suggest that the most frequently used verbal compliance gaining strategies by physicians are not always appreciated by patients. To be more effective, it is necessary to inform physicians about which compliance-gaining strategies promote a positive patient healthcare experience.
Posted: 2017-01-06More...

Exploring the meaning of living with HIV as a chronic illness in Kenya: A narrative inquiry

Since the introduction of antiretroviral medications, HIV has been regarded as a chronic illness. However, people living with HIV continue to experience social consequences of HIV infection such as stigma, discrimination, violence, and other human rights violations. In this paper, we focus on the experiences of Atoti, a person living with HIV in Kenya. We argue that HIV remains a biographically disruptive and exceptional illness that is complicated by its invisibility and unpredictable trajectory. Based on Atoti’s experiences, we argue that Bury’s (1982) concept of biographical disruption, used to explain the social processes of a person suffering a chronic illness, does not fully capture the complexity of experiencing living with HIV. Focusing on life as a whole, rather than on the disease response and process as a biographical disruption, allows for a deeper appreciation of HIV’s complexity as a medical illness with major social ramifications.
Posted: 2017-01-06More...

Doctors’ and interpreters’ conversational styles in paediatric diabetes encounters: A case study of empowering language use

During the last few decades, ideas of empowerment, person centered care (PCC) and shared decision-making (SDM) have informed western health care. An increasing interest in conversational styles aligned with these ideas is visible e.g. in the work to make motivational interviewing (MI) an evidence based communicative practice. But linguistic competence is needed to identify the subtle nuances of the communicative practices in a doctor–patient consultation. It is therefore particularly important to investigate conversation styles in mediated encounters with immigrant patients.
Mitigation strategies (indirect speech, hedging etc.) and confirming strategies (back-channelling, encouragement etc.) are considered to be typical of an ‘empowering’ conversation style. The distribution of these features in encounters with or without interpreters was analysed in a case study of two consultations with the same doctor in a children’s diabetes clinic in Sweden. The results of this study indicate that the mitigation strategies and confirming strategies characteristic of a conversation style aimed at strengthening and encouraging the patient tend to get lost in mediation. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Posted: 2016-12-29More...

Opportunities and challenges of entertainment-education: Learning about Parkinson’s disease via The Michael J. Fox Show

Health topics are omnipresent in the media. However, although both informational and entertainment formats can increase public understanding of health and illness, media representations of diseases involve challenges as well as opportunities. The entertainment-education (E-E) approach highlights the positive effects of incorporating health messages into entertainment media. The goal of influencing awareness, knowledge and attitudes is reached by transporting the audience into a narrative, which as such enhances persuasive effects and suppresses counterarguing. The NBC sitcom The Michael J. Fox Show (TMJFS) is an E-E format inspired by the actor’s own experiences with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Using TMJFS as an exemplar, we conducted a multimethodological study to understand both the challenges and the opportunities of E-E comedy formats. A content analysis focusing on the representation of PD in TMJFS showed a focus on motoric symptoms of PD. Subsequent recap analyses and qualitative interviews were conducted to better understand different readings of the show in terms of its informative and entertaining aspects. Additionally, we performed a standardized online survey and an experiment to measure attitudinal effects of TMJFS.
Posted: 2016-12-29More...

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...

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...

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...



eBooks now available

We've launched our eBook platform serving individuals and libraries. All books now available in print or eBook format.  
Posted: 2017-03-04

COMET 2017

15th International and Interdisciplinary Conference
"Communication, Medicine and Ethics"
June 26-28, 2017
Hosted by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), USA
Posted: 2016-10-21 More...
More Announcements...

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: