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A Quantitative Content Analysis of Person-First Language Use in Healthcare Research, Healthcare Practice, and by Support Groups for People with Disabilities

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DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2014.44043    3,539 Downloads   4,680 Views   Citations
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ABSTRACT

This article reports the results of an original quantitative linguistic study that investigated patterns of language use referring to people with disabilities in three data source types: written by support groups run for and by people with disabilities, healthcare researchers, and healthcare providers respectively. Quantitative content analysis was used to categorize the language use in a target sentence in each of the 9000 data sources in terms of whether it emphasized the person (person-first language) or the disability (non-person-first language) following published guidelines. Statistical analysis was conducted using appropriate logistic regression models. There was a significant increase in the use of person-first language in healthcare research articles over the time period 1994-2013, although it remained a minority usage. Use of person-first language was significantly higher in documents produced by support groups run by people with disabilities than in documents produced by healthcare researchers and practitioners. This suggests that healthcare researchers and providers may be more likely to refer to people with disabilities in terms that emphasize the disability rather than the person. Further research is required to confirm these patterns and investigate whether there is a disparity between the wishes of people with disabilities and the language behavior of healthcare researchers and practitioners.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Barnish, M. (2014) A Quantitative Content Analysis of Person-First Language Use in Healthcare Research, Healthcare Practice, and by Support Groups for People with Disabilities. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 4, 505-511. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2014.44043.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6676.1988.tb02079.x
[34] La Forge, J. (1991). Preferred Language Practice in Professional Rehabilitation Journals. Journal of Rehabilitation, 57, 49- 51.
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http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG90
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http://odi.dwp.gov.uk/inclusive-communications/representation/language.php
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10597-010-9323-3
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[42] Spooner, A. (Ed.) (1998). Oxford Quick Reference Thesaurus. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  
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