University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

‘Panic’ and ‘Blame’ in Contemporary Dementia Discourse: an Analysis and Critique.

Peel, Elizabeth (2013) ‘Panic’ and ‘Blame’ in Contemporary Dementia Discourse: an Analysis and Critique. In: 8th Biennial Conference, International Society for Critical Health Psychology, 22-24 July, University of Bradford.

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Understanding dementia is a pressing challenge. Societal awareness is increasing, the cost of care is being recognised, and calls for redress of the legacy of research underfunding are amplifying. This paper draws on the ‘Dementia Talking’ project which aims to understand how talk about, and to, people with dementia is constructed, with the goal of improving communication with people living with dementia. One element of interrogating dementia in critical health psychology is exploring how people with dementia are represented in societal discourse. I draw on the construction of people with dementia manifest in two data-sets - a corpus of 350 recent UK national newspaper articles about dementia and qualitative data derived from in-depth interviews with informal carers (n=12). These data were analysed using thematic discourse analysis. A ‘panic-blame approach’ was evident in much of the print media coverage, with dementia being presented as ‘worse than death’ juxtaposed with behavioural change recommendations to ‘stave off’ the condition exemplified in headlines like ‘Take a walk to keep dementia at bay’. Contrary to media discourse, there was scant mention in carers’ accounts of individual responsibility for health, and its corollary blame and accountability for dementia.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: dementia, communication, Dementia Talking Project
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Elizabeth Peel
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2014 14:38
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:05

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