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Soc Sci Med. 1995 Feb;40(3):339-48.

Lifestyle in primary health care discourse.

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  • 1Department of Communication Studies, Linköping University, Sweden.


This study is the first part of the project "Lifestyle Questions in Primary Health Care". The study aims at exploring how lifestyle enters into the health care discourse and what significance such factors are given in the clinical work. The particular problem thus concerns the extent to which lifestyle issues are brought up and attended to in the clinical encounters as well as in the medical records. The study was performed at two primary health care centres in central Sweden. The analyses are based on 42 transcribed consultations and on the medical records produced on the basis of these dialogues. The results show that lifestyle issues are given considerable attention in the primary health care encounter. Roughly one third of the discourse space is devoted to these kinds of topics, and the patients and doctors share the discourse space equally between them. There is also a high consistency between topics given space in the discussion and those that are entered into the medical records. The results also point to what could be conceived as a common discursive code between the health centres studied, indicating that there are similar communicative strategies for discussing lifestyle issues.

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