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Advising without personalising: How a helpline may satisfy callers without giving medical advice beyond its remit

journal contribution
posted on 06.03.2020, 15:32 by Charles Antaki, Steven Bloch
Callers to telephone helplines often seek advice beyond the authorisation of those staffing the service. On health-helplines, this poses a problem to the call-taker. How do they manage the dilemma between, on the one hand, exceeding their competence and authority to give medical advice, and, on the other, leaving the caller unsatisfied with the service? We offer a framework in which to set newly identified practices along with those identified in previous studies. Using a set of calls to a medical help-line run by Parkinson's UK, we show that the call-taker manages the problem by (a) only suggesting courses of action highly marked for impersonality or contingency (displaying a "low deontic stance", Stevanovic and Peräkylä, 2012), and (b) limiting the interactional risks of tailoring the advice to callers' personal circumstances. We show how our suggested framework of "advising without personalising" may guide research into the difficult job of delivering advice where the service-provider must observe a limit on what they can say.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Sociology of Health and Illness

Volume

42

Issue

5

Pages

1202 - 1219

Publisher

Wiley

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: ANTAKI, C. and BLOCH, S., 2020. Advising without personalising: how a helpline may satisfy callers without giving medical advice beyond its remit. Sociology of Health and Illness, 42 (5), pp.1202-1219, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13088. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Acceptance date

02/03/2020

Publication date

2020-04-18

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

0141-9889

eISSN

1467-9566

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Charles Antaki. Deposit date: 6 March 2020

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