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Understanding children's mental health conditions in their interactional environment: conversation analysis and autism

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This paper provides a methodological overview of applied conversation analysis, showing how this qualitative approach can contribute to our understanding of social interaction in medical settings and the workings of healthcare institutions. Children's mental health, with a focus on autism, is taken as case in point. We first examine how mental health difficulties can affect interaction but also how interactional dynamics can impact the manifestation of mental conditions. We then survey work on institutional practices devoted to defining children's mental health conditions, notably psychological assessments. Thirdly, we consider the study of consultation and intervention settings. In the paper's final part, we envision new areas within which conversation analysis can be brought to bear not only to deepen our understanding of children's mental suffering but also to enhance the well-being of children and their caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-470
JournalTPM - Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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