Location: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
Location: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
This study “Presentations of borderline personality disorder in the UK press: A corpus-assisted discourse analysis” has been presented on the 5th May 2017 as an invited speaker talk at the “Cross Disciplinary Perspectives on ‘anti-social personality disorder’: Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) in Context” seminar series in London (Funded by the ESRC).
People with borderline personality disorder are exposed to stigma and discrimination towards mental illness, which impacts on their quality of life and recovery. Through the use of corpus-assisted discourse analysis, this presentation explores the discursive constructions of borderline personality disorder in the UK Press. The corpus included 2,139 articles (with total count of 1,868,320 words) from the first mentioning of the term “borderline personality disorder” in 1990, until 2016.
An initial analysis of frequent key words indicated that discourses were highly gendered with significantly more references to women than men – “her” (23,820), “she” (22,539) vs. “he” (11,382), “his” (9,691), which is consistent with women being associated with borderline personality disorder (Becker, 1997). Women’s identities were often described through familial relationship – “her mother” (871), “her daughter” (591), “her family” (567), “her son” (470) and “her father” (405) – and women’s ownership status was restrained to simplistic existential themes – “her life” (1,179), “her death” (860), “her problems” (124). Suicide was more frequently reported in relation to women – “took (119), take (94), end (32), taken (40) her life” or “jumped (56) to her death”, compared to men. Women are also more often reported of having killed their own mother – e.g., “killed (46), stabbing (39), killing (23) her mother”, whereas in men, mothers were implicitly or explicitly blamed – e.g., “his mother was jailed”, “his mother was an alcoholic”, “his mother was largely to blame”, which alludes to parental conflicts as the cause of developing borderline personality disorder (Whalen et al., 2014). Although early parental losses and trauma were reported in both women and men, women were found to have continuous parental dependencies and conflicts – “her parents did take her back into their home”, “was thrown out of her home by her own parents”. In relation to the immediate home environment, women were also passive victims of others’ coercive or destructive behaviour – e.g., “she was taken from her home”, ”she was raped on her way home”.
In summary, the results of this initial semantic analysis showed that newspaper articles present stereotypical gender-based differences of borderline personality disorder, which reinforce public’s negative ideologies towards mental illness and may also interfere with clinical perceptions.
The Institute for Advances Studies in the Humanities has offered Laura Cariola (that’s me) a postdoctoral research fellowship to explore “Presentations of Complex Mental Illness in Media and Medical Discourses using Corpus-Based Approaches to Discourse Analysis”. This project forms part of ongoing work that investigates mental health in public and medical discourses. Collaborators include academics across the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, such as clinical psychology, counselling and psychotherapy, anthropology, social work and medicine. The fellowship will also provide ample opportunities for knowledge exchange events and activities, research colloquia and a ‘Health Humanities’ invited speakers series.
The IASH was established in 1969 to promote interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities and social sciences at the University of Edinburgh. It support innovative research and public engagement activities across the arts, humanities and social sciences through a range of interdisciplinary and international projects and programmes. The IASH provides an international, interdisciplinary and autonomous space for discussion and debate. Since its foundation more than 1000 scholars from 66 countries have held Institute fellowships; and up to 28 Fellows are in residence at any one time.
Affiliation: University of Manchester and North West of England NHS Deanery
Communications and collaborations between mental health care users and user activists, family carers and friends, and mental health professionals and policy makers outside and beyond traditional clinical and pedagogic encounters are needed to strengthen a rights-based approach in the field of mental health and further civil society involvement. The Trialogue experience – an exercise in communication between service users, families and friends and mental health workers on equal footing – is indicative of our capacity for surviving and gaining from serious discussions of adverse issues as well as the great possibilities of cooperative efforts and coordinated action.
Affiliation: Loughborough University
Laura Thompson is a Chartered Psychologist and Lecturer in Social Psychology at Loughborough University. Her research is applied and ‘real-world’, focusing broadly on health, communication and socio-psychological approaches to occupational psychology. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Laura draws across a range of methods, in particular conversation analysis, to help solve problems within the health sector, psychiatry and private or public companies. Her research aims to form the foundations for psychological treatments and interventions for individuals with health conditions, including schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.
Affiliation : University of Edinburgh
Matthias Schwannauer graduated with first degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Marburg in 1994. In 1998 he completed his applied clinical psychology training at the University of Marburg with internships in Marburg, Berlin and Edinburgh. His first position as a qualified clinical psychologist was in the Adolescent Mental Health Services in Greater Glasgow NHS. He moved to NHS Lothian and the University of Edinburgh in January 2000. During this time he was able to carry out his PhD research into psychological interventions for bipolar disorders. This research involved the implementation of a randomised controlled trial of Cognitive Interpersonal Therapy and an investigation of the role of interpersonal and cognitive factors in mood regulation in bipolar disorders and the recovery process.
Since 2009 he is Head of Clinical & Health Psychology and Programme Director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology training programme at the University of Edinburgh. He is further a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the Early Psychosis Support Service at CAMHS Lothian.