Grants awarded

Shame and medicine

Grantholder:

Dr Luna Dolezal

University of Exeter

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Dr Matthew Gibson

University of Birmingham

United Kingdom

Shame is a powerful force in the everyday experiences of patients, medical students, doctors and other healthcare professionals. Shame can make patients avoid treatment or conceal illness, and it can make their experience of ill health worse. Shame influences how doctors interact with their patients and their colleagues, and it is related to burn out, suicide and mental health problems. Despite repeated suggestions that shame plays a significant role in medicine, our current knowledge is limited. 

Our team of researchers working in medicine, the medical humanities and the social sciences will investigate the philosophy and cultural representation of shame in medicine, while also doing empirical studies looking at the experience of shame in current healthcare practices and professional culture, investigating how race, ethnicity, class and gender affect the experience of medical shame. 

Our findings will provide evidence that can be used to improve the quality of health services.