OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

War Metaphors Impact on Palliative Care Stigma and Prospective Usage


Crystal Solano


Palliative care is critical to the management of symptoms, pain, and end-of-life care among those facing serious illness. However, choosing palliative care may be associated with negative stereotypes such as giving up and acceptance of death. In the present study, participants (n=223) read a brief informational statement about lung cancer and were then randomly assigned to read a series of blog posts by a cancer patient written using fighting language (i.e., beat, fight, win) or neutral language. In the second half of the study, participants read about an oncologist who describes two treatment options to a terminally ill cancer patient: 1) palliative care or 2) chemotherapy. Participants were then randomly assigned to read that the patient chose either palliative care or chemotherapy. Results indicated that when the participant read a war language blog post, they were more likely to negatively stereotype (quitter, lazy, weak-willed, etc.) and stigmatize the patient who chose palliative care. These results provide evidence of the potential barriers for those considering palliative care treatment and the stigmatization of those who are currently utilizing palliative care.

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