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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Literary narratives examining control, loss of control and illness: Perspectives of patient, family and physician

  • Author(s): Shapiro, J
  • Prislin, M
  • Shapiro, DH
  • Lie, D
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

This article examines how three literary narratives portraying the psychological effects of illness deal with issues of control in the doctor-patient-family relationship. Specifically explored are how patient, physician, and family members cope with the feelings of vulnerability and loss of control brought on by illness; and how each seeks to gain and maintain a sense of control in this coping process. Suggestions are offered for uses of these narratives in medical education. By exploring themes of control in the doctor-patient relationship, physicians develop greater insight and empathy that in turn can lead to improved outcomes for both patient and doctor.

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