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Title: Exploring the online social identities of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) : a discourse analysis approach
Author: Kennedy, Alice Catriona
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2014
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People with CFS/ME suffer from physical symptoms and restriction in roles. Having a contested condition means facing scepticism, stigma and disbelief. Previous researcher-mediated studies found that people with CFS/ME excluded psychological explanations, to ward off negative stereotypes and to position themselves as genuinely ill. In this study I used social identity theory and discourse analysis methods to explore the identities exhibited by people with CFS/ME on an online forum. This study confirmed previous findings, namely that posters experienced biographical disruption owing to symptom severity and loss of roles and relationships. It also found that posters re-asserted limited self-efficacy to renegotiate their roles, to persuade family, friends and doctors that they were seriously ill and to position themselves as experts in CFS/ME. This raised the social status of the ingroup, people with CFS/ME. A new finding was that some posters considered psychological factors as exacerbating or causing CFS/ME.
Supervisor: Smithson, Janet Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available