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Title: The discourse of mental health : an analysis of perceptions and usage
Author: Brannigan, Christina M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 525X
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2018
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This study looks at the extent to which meaning, intention, interpretation, and context inform the contemporary perceptions and usage of language connected to mental health. It discusses the concerns raised by campaigners that the everyday usage of words and phrases from the semantic field of mental health encodes negative ideology that serves to perpetuate the on-going stigmatisation of individuals dealing with mental illness. It has also examined the possibility that through usage, the meanings of specific words and phrases have evolved and changed, and should no longer be interpreted as wholly discriminatory or stigmatising in all contexts. Meaning, context, usage, interpretation and perception of linguistic signs related to mental health are at the core of the study. It uses data collected from an online survey to present a quantative and qualitative analysis of intention, perception, interpretation, usage and context. An original computer-mediated communication (CMC) corpus comprising of nearly two hundred million words was used to conduct a corpus-based discourse analysis, which investigated non-observed usage of ten keywords. The results from the two investigations uncovered evidence that patterns of usage and the primary intended meanings for some of the keywords has changed. The corpus-based discourse analysis provided evidence of these changes. The perceptions of usage measured by the survey data did not always match with the evidence of usage found in the corpus, and these conflicts are discussed. The study also collected examples of regional or dialectal terms connected to mental health, with submissions from the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, Singapore, New Zealand, and Jersey. These are presented in the form of a glossary.
Supervisor: Penhallurick, Robert ; Lorenzo-Dus, Nuria Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral