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Navigating the social identity of long covid, 2021, Van de Vyver et al

Discussion in 'Psychosomatic news - ME/CFS and Long Covid' started by ola_cohn, Nov 29, 2021.

  1. ola_cohn

    ola_cohn Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Location:
    Australia
    Opinion piece in the BMJ

    Conclusion

    Going forward, we recommend:

    Acknowledging that patients with long term conditions may experience challenging forms of “identity loss” which may lead them to feel more vulnerable.

    Addressing stigma in healthcare as well as in communities and workplaces, recognising that experiences of stigma are not always visible.

    Considering that stigma may have cumulative negative effects on recovery and may be more pronounced among already disadvantaged communities; that stigmatised groups may be less likely to seek support as a result of systemic bias.

    Approaching long covid from an integrated mind-body lens (as Ballering et al. suggest), believing the lived experience of patients and avoiding the discarding of somatic symptoms as psychological.12

    Encouraging existing and new support groups to focus on effective ways of fostering positive identities, with a focus on the most vulnerable communities.

    Conducting interdisciplinary research where patients, social psychologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, clinicians, healthcare and public health practitioners, and those from the medical humanities, work together to understand long covid holistically, as insights can inform interventions that enhance positive social identities.

    Competing interests: All authors have lived experience of long covid.

    https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2933.long
     
  2. 5vforest

    5vforest Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Talk about mixed messages!
     
  3. SNT Gatchaman

    SNT Gatchaman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It took me five goes at reading that line, but I think they're saying it's biological! (As of course they did, though almost only in passing in the first paragraph). But then as you say, back to the mind-body integration.

    More of the biological research please, less of the urgent research and attention into the social identity processes.
     
    alktipping, tmrw, Wyva and 4 others like this.
  4. 5vforest

    5vforest Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I had a much longer reply written up about this, but then I thought about the authors' backgrounds (social psychology and public health) and decided that they probably just can't help themselves. My reaction would be a lot different if it was written by an MD.
     
  5. SNT Gatchaman

    SNT Gatchaman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    New Zealand
    Hah hah, so did I. It was about 20 lines long, but I binned it as redundant. Also one of the authors continues to be truly excellent on Twitter, saying all that the sensible things re COVID and long COVID, so I took this as being a brief detour from regular programming.
     
  6. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
    UK
    I think the article makes some good points about social isolation and stigma resulting from being physically ill and debilitated, along with lack of understanding and support from others.

    The trouble is the article dresses it all up in jargon, and seems to see the solution in 'interventions that enhance positive social identities' without specifying what that means. It can all too easily end up as positive thinking psychotherapy inflicted on the sufferer, making it their job to be more positive, rather than practical support to enable the person to rest, and education of those caring for them, including clinicians, to reduce stigma.
     
  7. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I suspect they mean: We will make a token nod to the external factors that actually produced this situation, and focus on the wrong piece of the problem, the individual on the receiving end, to pretend we are doing something useful and moral.
     
  8. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    2,585
    My guess is that maybe "positive social identities" means "an identity that means you feel you can still contribute to/have a place in society despite being ill". But that's a stab in the dark.
     

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