The abstract

of the research project "The Presentation of Pain and Illness II" can be found on this page.

The proposed project application is directly based on the FWF-Project The Representation of Pain and Illness Narratives, which was completed in February, 2007. Its goal is the use of its results to more deeply examine and complete the following three sets of research questions which are suggested by investigative gaps in discourse research, and, moreover, have proven to be particularly relevant both in discussions with physicians, as well as in doctors’ consultations.
Firstly, a series of epidemiological and clinical studies show a pronounced connection between primary headache pain and psychologically determined complaints, particularly anxiety and depression, while it becomes increasingly clear that the subjective experience of anxiety brings with it decisive information for a better understanding of the illness. Since this is only accessible through interaction, the question this project investigates is how the patients themselves interactively construct the connection between anxiety and pain.
Secondly, in the previous project, there were considerable suitability problems between the consultation plans of the doctors and the desires of the patients who visited the treatment centres. A continuing linguistic analysis of the data should allow a systematic explanation of the various forms of communication in participatory offers and activities of doctors and patients (Keywords: patient-centred medicine, empowerment, decision making) and describe both successful and unsuccessful forms of their interactive negotiation.
Thirdly, the specific problem of patients from different cultural backgrounds describing their pain was underscored by the medical cooperative partners. Since the communicative representation of pain is decisive, the question must be asked whether conclusions can be drawn from pain representation as depicted by patients of culturally different backgrounds. In this field, however, it will be vital to be aware of a series of caveats that we have put together.
The project draws mostly on material from the previous project that should be completed according to the existing criteria. Herewith, one of the largest German-language collections of video material on pain representation will also be made available.
The theoretical and methodical basis is built on over 30 years’ of research tradition known as the Wiener Ansatz, which holistically combines critical discourse analysis with conversation analysis and establishes a link with findings of medical semiotics and, in part, systemic-functional linguistics.
Following the Viennese approach, the results should be applicable when re-incorporated in medical practice, possibly even in the form of recommendations.