Exploring narratives of erectile dysfunction


  • R. Masaryk


The question of how lay people perceive medical terms, diagnoses and interventions are important to understand decision-making processes in patients. The overall objective is to improve how physicians communicate with their patients. This is especially important when it comes to sensitive issues such as conditions related to male erection. The presentation follows up on data collected in 29 focus groups between 2000 and 2012 to study lay understanding of erectile dysfunction. The approach to analysis draws upon the theory of social representations and critical health psychology. New analyses of these data focus on how men understand erectile dysfunction, how this understanding shaped their coping strategies, and how related narratives changed over the years. Arrival of this diagnosis could be construed as the primal act of medicalising male bodies. The oral treatment for erectile dysfunction was first rejected by men, and only gradually accepted. The paper reflects the historical and cultural context of this process.





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