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Qual Health Res. 2006 Jan;16(1):27-46.

The construction of troubled and credible patients: a study of emotion talk in palliative care settings.

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Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University, United Kingdom.


In this article, the authors select two categories of dying patients, "troubled" and "credible," from two larger studies conducted in three palliative care settings. They explore how nurses construct dying patients' moral identities and how they use emotion talk to interpret patients' behavior. The authors carried out a microanalysis of talk-in-action using discourse analysis and conversation analysis. Strategies used for the construction of moral identities include the production of atrocity stories and emotional editing. The authors identify moments when emotions are made relevant in palliative care nurses' daily practices, which serve to smooth social interaction and give a voice to dying patients' words and actions. The dying trajectory, the deteriorating emotional body, and the sound mind are resources used in the characterization of the credible and troubled patient. The authors argue that emotion talk is significant because it reveals how nurses manage conflict and tension in talk-in-interaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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