Mechanistic and "natural" body metaphors and their effects on attitudes to hormonal contraception

Walker, Susan H. (2012) Mechanistic and "natural" body metaphors and their effects on attitudes to hormonal contraception. Women and Health, 52 (8). pp. 788-803. ISSN 1541-0331

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A small, self-selected convenience sample of male and female contraceptive users in the United Kingdom (n = 34) were interviewed between 2006 and 2008 concerning their feelings about the body and their contraceptive attitudes and experiences. The interviewees were a sub-sample of respondents (n = 188) who completed a paper-based questionnaire on similar topics, who were recruited through a poster placed in a family planning clinic, web-based advertisements on workplace and university websites, and through direct approaches to social groups. The bodily metaphors used when discussing contraception were analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological analytical approach facilitated by Atlas.ti software. The dominant bodily metaphor was mechanistic (i.e.,"body as machine"). A subordinate but influential bodily metaphor was the "natural" body, which had connotations of connection to nature and a quasi-sacred bodily order. Interviewees drew upon this "natural" metaphorical image in the context of discussing their anxieties about hormonal contraception. Drawing upon a "natural," non-mechanistic body image in the context of contraceptive decision-making contributed to reluctance to use a hormonal form of contraception. This research suggests that clinicians could improve communication and advice about contraception by recognizing that some users may draw upon non-mechanistic body imagery.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: body image, contraception, mechanistic, metaphor, natural
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2012 09:50
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 10:49

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