Hormone replacement therapy : perspectives from women, medicine and sociology
Developed on the boundary between medicine and sociology, this thesis develops a critique of the perspectives of these disciplines through analysis of a study of women's perspectives on hormone replacement therapy. Women's perspectives are explored through a postal questionnaire survey and a study using individual interviews and focus groups. The survey results provide a measure of women’s attitudes towards, and knowledge of, hormone replacement therapy. The individual interviews detail the way women move towards a decision about the therapy and identifies common themes, particularly women's fears and what influences their fears. The focus groups explore contrasting themes including women's control and choice in decisions about therapy, contrary themes in women’s attitudes and the different ways of thinking used by the women. The results of the studies are assessed for their implications for clinical general practice. The thesis also takes a sociological perspective on women and HRT and on the research process, in particular exploring two themes. Firstly, the interaction between the social context, the research subject and the research process. This includes the social factors influencing the development of the research and choice of research methods, and the influence of the research methods on the results obtained. The second theme is the perspectives and levels of analysis used by the main disciplines contributing to the thesis; biomedicine, biostatistics, general practice and sociology. The thesis explores how the different perspectives and levels of analysis influence research and how they are used to manage the social context. These explorations are used to suggest future directions for research on hormone replacement therapy and for general practice.