Social representations of folk medicine in adult cancer patients, the patient´s family and members of the health care team

Palacios Espinosa, Ximena (2013) Social representations of folk medicine in adult cancer patients, the patient´s family and members of the health care team, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Psicologia sociale, dello sviluppo e delle organizzazioni, 25 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/5781.
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This research aimed to analyze social representations of folk medicine in three population groups, cancer patients (n=100), patients' families (n=25) and members of the health care team (n=26). To this end, three qualitative studies were conducted, one with each population group; a fourth study was focused in describing the similarities and differences between the three groups in relation to the object of representation. Methodology: in-depth interviews were used, free association exercises, and focus groups (7 with 62 patients). Results: For cancer patients, folk medicine is represented as an optimistic exit from the desperate situation they are living against cancer and a commitment for life. For the family, this is a counter able to maintain life and strength for cancer patients. For the health team, a reality for patients and family, with a placebo effect on them, that definitely applies to the religious magic thinking, faith and ignorance of those who perform these practices. As to the differences, the patient and the family believe that folk medicine is an alternative in which they place their faith and trust, whereas health care team does not believe on its supposed effects on cancer and considered it as fraud and deception for the patient. In terms of similarities, all agree that folk medicine is an alternative, generating hope, based on natural compounds that allow patients to contribute to cancer cure and overcome the discomfort of chemotherapy. Finally, some general conclusions, where we discuss some of the findings, focusing on the importance of the RS of folk medicine and its impact on health and quality of life of patients and some questions were raised that may favor the development of a new line of research on the topic.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Palacios Espinosa, Ximena
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze umanistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Folk Medicine, cancer, chemotherapy, social representations
Data di discussione
16 Aprile 2013

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