Ever wondered where social beliefs and emotions around incontinence come from, and why it evokes a sense of disgust or discomfort in talking about the topic? Most people likely haven’t since incontinence is not at the forefront of minds, unless, of course, you are directly affected by continence issues.
In her newly released podcast Joan Ostaszkiewicz explores continence in a social setting and the the stigma associated with incontinence. While responses to incontinence and continence care vary between each individual, it is acknowledged that a wider social construction plays a large role in how continence is managed and represented (or more accurately, ‘underrepresented’).
The podcast delves into why incontinence is considered a low prestige condition and reflects on the impact that this has not only on those suffering from it, but also the caregivers, due to low social status attributed to this area. Joan interestingly traces beliefs and feelings around incontinence back to their origins – proposing that they are a construct of socialisation in early childhood, during the development of continence skills.
Throughout the podcast Joan draws from wider research, including reflecting on Sociologist Goffman’s ‘courtesy stigma’ in terms of continence care within the nursing profession.
The key themes covered in the podcast:
• Emotional and behavioural responses to incontinence
• The social construction of beliefs and feelings about incontinence
• Disease prestige
• Shame and disgust
• The status of continence care work
Listen to the full podcast to find out Joan’s thoughts on how to tackle the stigma of incontinence: