I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Jan 2019 - 25 Jan 2019

Human Studies

2019 Feb




Social representations of chronic pain in newspapers, online media, and film.


Kugelmann R, Watson K, Frisby G
Pain. 2019 Feb; 160(2):298-306.
PMID: 30673686.


Social representation theory provides a framework for studying how scientific knowledge affects common sense and communication through inquiries into everyday discourse. This qualitative study examined social representations of chronic pain from 4 sources: North American newspapers; "Chronic Illness Cat" memes from the social media web site, Pinterest; video blogs on YouTube; and from a 2014 film, Cake, and interviews and comments concerning it. Using thematic analysis, we first identified social representations found in our 4 sources and others found in 1 or 2 of them. Second, we analyzed the sources for their rhetorical intentions. Vlogs directly and memes indirectly were first-person accounts, self-authorizing statements of the truth of chronic pain, whereas newspaper articles and the film were third-person accounts of pain, the differences between these perspectives affecting what was said. We conclude that the medium shapes the message.