“Caught between a rock and a hard place” – between discourses of empowerment and solicitude. An empirical study on Danish public sector service professionals’ discourses of non-attendance

Michaela Høj, Katrine Schepelern Johansen, Birgitte Ravn Olesen, Sidse Marie Hemmingsen Arnfred

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Non-attendance constitutes a profound challenge in public sector services targeting young adults with mental health difficulties. Therefore, researchers and practitioners are occupied with trying to resolve this. In order for clinicians to be aware of their own naturalised and perhaps inappropriate communicative practices, we investigated the established normative organisational logics behind explanations and strategies related to non-attendance.
We performed a critical discourse analysis on material collected through participatory research throughout 2015. Three discourses were identified: solicitude, responsibility and youth discourse. Although the discourses were complex and entangled, they were used by all practitioners. Furthermore, some of the discourses, especially the responsibility and the solicitude discourses were inherently tension-filled, and practitioners experienced frustration in dealing with these tensions.
The youth discourse can be understood as a coping mechanism to deal with these tensions because it distributes responsibility for non-attendance to general social and cultural processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1686-1700
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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