Discourse / Discours - Metaphors and Medication: Understanding Medication Use by Seniors in Everyday Life

Rosanne E. Beuthin, Ann Holroyd, Peter H. Stephenson, Britt Vegsund


The purpose of this study was to explore the use of metaphor by independent seniors taking medication for chronic health conditions. Narratives from a larger study using grounded theory were analyzed using constant comparative analysis and induction. A secondary analysis of the narratives of 21 participants was undertaken. Transcripts were read line-by-line and all relevant language was highlighted and reviewed with the aim of identifying relationships and themes. The narratives revealed a diverse range of metaphoric language. Four categories were identified: being shackled, hope, external authority, and communication fears. Three additional themes were interwoven into the narratives: aging and death, medication personified, and the body as object. The authors conclude that metaphor reveals the tension and unresolved dilemmas faced by seniors with regard to medication use.

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