Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 363–371
Parents’ discursive resources: Analysis of discourses in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian health care guidelines for children with diabetes type 1
The incidence of diabetes type 1 in children, the most common metabolic disorder in childhood, increases worldwide, with highest incidence in Scandinavia. Having diabetes means demands in everyday life, and the outcome of the child’s treatment highly depends on parents’ engagement and involvement. The aim of this study was to explore and describe discourses in health care guidelines for children with diabetes type 1, in Sweden, Norway and Denmark during 2007–2010, with a focus on how parents were positioned. As method a Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis was applied, and a six-stage model was used to perform the analysis. The findings shows a Medical, a Pedagogic and a Public Health discourse embedded in the hegemonic Expert discourse. The Expert discourse positioned parents as dependent on expert knowledge, as recipients of education, as valuable and responsible for their child’s health through practicing medical skills. This positioning may place parents on a continuum from being deprived of their own initiatives to being invited to take an active part and could result in feelings of guilt and uncertainty, but also of security and significance. From this study we conclude that guidelines rooted in the Expert discourse may reduce opportunities for parents’ voices to be heard and may overlook their knowledge. By broadening the selection of authors of the guidelines to include patients and all professionals in the team, new discourses could emerge and the parents’ voice might be more prominent.