Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Melissa Schrift

Thesis Professor Department

Sociology and Anthropology

Thesis Reader(s)

Lindsey King, Roger Blackwell


The purpose of this thesis is to identify common themes presented in several illness narratives with specific attention paid to the relationship between patients and their physicians and patients and their families. Only illness narratives written in America and Western Europe were used for this thesis so the topic could be narrowed to the experience within the western biomedical field. While most research on illness narratives focuses on defining illness and illustrating the importance of introspective work, this thesis identifies patterns in a way that can shape the future treatment of chronically ill patients. This thesis also allows me to creatively explore a personal illness narrative, reinforcing these themes and contributing to the discussion of what physicians and families can do to make the illness experience more bearable for the patient.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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