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Soc Sci Med. 2000 Jun;50(12):1843-50.

Interpretative repertoires of medication among the oldest-old.

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  • 1Tampere School of Public Health, University of Tampere, Finland.


The use of medical drugs is not founded on medical knowledge alone, but it is also dependent on lay logic and reasoning. This study set out to explore the views of the oldest-old on their medication. The data for the study came from narrative interviews with people aged 90 or over. Our aim was to look for different culturally shared interpretative repertoires used by the interviewees as they gave descriptions and accounts of their drug use and presented themselves as users of medical drugs. Three interpretative repertoires were identified. The moral repertoire stressed lay people's moral norms and presented them as morally acceptable and responsible users of drugs by explaining and minimizing. The patient repertoire was used by the respondents to show they had accepted the role of patient. The self-help repertoire was used by the respondents to emphasize that they had made their own choices in medical care despite the biomedical facts. These repertoires showed that not only the biomedical logic, but also other logics are valid in the everyday world where most medical drugs are used. A better understanding of cultural ideas of drug use would help to improve the care of older people.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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