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Title: A conversation analytic examination of cancer helpline talk
Author: Woods, Catherine Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 1874
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Cancer is a widespread and feared disease and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Those 'affected' by cancer report a range of immediate and long-term supportive care needs and are increasingly turning to a range of health services to address them, including cancer helplines. Cancer helplines are recognised as integral aspects to the delivery of cancer care and are highly valued by the people who use them but there is little empirical evidence about how participants discuss the caller's problems during the calls, despite the well-known communication challenges associated with talking about cancer in other settings. This research examined a large collection (n=99) of 'real-time' audio recorded cancer helpline calls and used Conversation Analysis (CA) to understand the interactional process of seeking and delivering telephone-based cancer care in more detail. I first provide a quantitative overview of caller requests for assistance and the ways in which these requests were managed by call-handlers. This overview shows that callers telephoned the helpline to request information, advice and psychosocial support about a range of medically-related matters; that most callers volunteered two or more concerns throughout the calls; and that some of these concerns were outside the remit of the call-handlers' expertise. Callhandlers typically provided assistance in the form of verbal information and they also signposted callers onto other healthcare professionals. I then qualitatively explored: 1) a subset of problem presentations (n=23) in which troubling symptoms were topicalised by the caller; 2) a collection (n=11) of calls about the patient's prognosis; and 3) the practices used to bring the calls to a close (n=97). Overall, this conversation-analytic examination led to greater understandings about the complex problems discussed on cancer helplines and how they were managed.
Supervisor: Leydon, Geraldine ; Drew, Paul ; Little, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available