Mad Linguistics: A corpus-based and service-user informed critical discourse analysis of online Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder fora.

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Linguistics and English Language


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that affects approximately 3-4% of
the general population (Krzanowska and Kuleta, 2017). In the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual for Mental Disorders V (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), it is classified as a
compulsive-related disorder characterised by 'unwanted obsessive thoughts', or 'intrusive
thoughts', and repetitive compulsions that alleviate the anxiety felt by sufferers. Research by
Hunt and Brookes (2020) makes a compelling case for triangulating corpus linguistics and
discourse analysis to online fora used by sufferers of mental illnesses to better understand
their lived experiences. Indeed, Friedrich (2015:99) argues OCD is largely misunderstood in
society and that a framework of critical discourse analysis, combined with analysing
computer-mediated communication such as online fora, can help to elucidate common
misconceptions about OCD. There have been previous research around linguistic
constructions of OCD through semi-structured interviews (Knapton, 2018) and discursive
analyses of OCD subtypes (Coimbra-Gomes, 2020). My proposed research is the first
enquiry into existing fora discourses of OCD that will benefit a wider understanding of how
this illness is experienced and constructed by sufferers.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000665/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2550001 Studentship ES/P000665/1 30/09/2021 31/01/2027 Poppy Plumb