Chapter

Be Responsible

Catherine Belling

in A Condition of Doubt

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199892365
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199950096 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199892365.003.0020
Be Responsible

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This chapter presents contemporary hypochondria as cultural and communal, in part because of the rise of health as an ideal and a responsibility, and the role of public health discourse in conveying this message. Doctors try to reassure patients that the absence of evidence of disease should be accepted to mean that disease is (probably) absent, but such reassurance is given in the powerful cultural context of patient responsibility, disease awareness, early detection campaigns, scare tactics, and the ubiquity of “risk” as a measure of future (ill) health. These mixed messages work to reinforce hypochondria as a condition of shared anxiety.

Keywords: public health; community health; disease awareness; disease screening; early detection; risk

Chapter.  9158 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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