[Accepted Manuscript] What is wrong with 'being a pill-taker'? The special case of statins.


Polak, L.; (2016) [Accepted Manuscript] What is wrong with 'being a pill-taker'? The special case of statins. Sociology of health & illness. ISSN 0141-9889 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12509

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Abstract

: In an interview study of decision-making about statins, many participants said they took pills regularly, yet described themselves as 'not really pill-takers'. This paper explores this paradox and its implications. The practice of pill-taking itself can constitute a challenge to the presentation of moral adequacy, beyond the potential for rendering stigmatised illnesses visible. Meeting this challenge involves a complex process of calibrating often-conflicting moral imperatives: to be concerned, but not too concerned, over one's health; to be informed, but not over-informed; and deferential but not over-deferential to medical expertise. This calibration reflects a broader tension between rival tropes: embracing medical progress and resisting medicalisation. Participants who take statins present them as unquestionably necessary; 'needing' pills, as opposed to choosing to take them, serves as a defence against the devalued identity of being a pill-taker. However, needing to take statins offers an additional threat to identity, because taking statins is widely perceived to be an alternative strategy to 'choosing a healthy lifestyle'. This perception underpins a responsibilising health promotion discourse that shapes and complicates the work participants do to avoid presenting themselves as 'pill-takers'. The salience of this discourse should be acknowledged where discussions of medicalisation use statins as an example.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4293902

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