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“It's just a likelihood”: uncertainty as topic and resource in conveying “positive” results in an antenatal screening clinic

Pilnick, Alison; Zayts, Olga

Authors

Alison Pilnick

Olga Zayts



Abstract

The recognition of uncertainty as a pivotal issue for the sociology of medicine is longstanding. More recently, the widespread integration of new medical technologies into healthcare has led to a renewed analytic focus on uncertainty. However, there remains little work on the interactional manifestations of uncertainty. This article uses conversation analysis to examine how uncertainty is introduced and used in one specific setting: an antenatal screening clinic in Hong Kong. We focus on women who have received “screen positive” or higher risk results, and reflect on the ways in which uncertainty is an “essential tension” (Mazeland and ten Have 1996) in the activity of conveying these results to them. We conclude that as well as posing potential difficulties for interaction, the uncertainty of test results is also used here as an interactional resource in managing the institutionally defined category of “high risk.”

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2014
Journal Symbolic Interaction
Print ISSN 0195-6086
Electronic ISSN 0195-6086
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Issue 2
APA6 Citation Pilnick, A., & Zayts, O. (2014). “It's just a likelihood”: uncertainty as topic and resource in conveying “positive” results in an antenatal screening clinic. Symbolic Interaction, 37(2), https://doi.org/10.1002/symb.99
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/symb.99
Keywords uncertainty; risk communication; conversation analysis; antenatal screening; “screen positive” (high risk) patients; diagnosis delivery
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/symb.99
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0





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