Agency in endometriosis pain communication in English and Spanish
Keywords:endometriosis, transitivity, social actors, agency, health communication, pain
This article interrogates the linguistic construction of agency in accounts of endometriosis pain in English and Spanish. Endometriosis is a reproductive condition causing incapacitating pain which is often dismissed or normalised, leading to delayed diagnosis. We take a patient-centred qualitative approach and analyse data gathered from 10 semi-structured interviews with women with endometriosis in British English and Argentine Spanish, using the transitivity and social actor representation frameworks. The findings indicate that the women across the two settings represent pain as an agentive overpowering actor and themselves with varying degrees of decreased agency. However, pain is more closely related to mental representations of the patients’ experiences in Spanish than in English, where it is construed as an actor performing physical actions. The findings of the study have implications for pain communication practices and cross-language healthcare communication and should inform local pain assessment measures.
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