The conceptualisation of the ethnic person: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of how race and ethnicity are constructed in the literature of digital psychotherapies for depression

Edgar Rodríguez-Dorans, Joanna Omylinska-Thurston, Shaun Liverpool, Laura Viliardos, Vicky Karkou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Race and ethnicity constitute demographic data often collected in mental health research. However, their conceptualisation is unclear and their categorisation inconsistent, which affects how they are reported, analysed, and evaluated against research objectives. Using data from a systematic review of Digital Psychotherapies for Adults Experiencing Depressive Symptoms, this study interrogates how race and ethnicity data are conceptualised, collected, and used in designing, delivering, and evaluating digital interventions. Considering the relevance of race and ethnicity in health disparities, the uneven prevalence of depression and comorbid psychiatric disorders across ethnic groups, and ongoing debates that question the extent to which existing treatments are effective for diverse ethnic populations, this study seeks to interrogate how researchers on mental health engage with current debates on race and ethnicity and whether these inform their digital interventions for depression. Using Foucauldian Discourse Analysis, the current paper focuses on the analysis of four out of ten critical articles reporting on digital psychotherapies for depression to explore the discourses researchers draw on to conceptualise race and ethnicity and the implications and functions of such constructions. The analysis shows a diverse and complex spectrum of racial and ethnic conceptualisation. While, altogether, studies reported a sophisticated range of ethnic classifications, some researchers did not collect ethnic information, others ascribed to essentialist views, and others drew on geopolitical descriptors such as nationality. These varied approaches draw attention to how researchers – implicitly or explicitly – participate in co-creating discourses around race and ethnicity. Finally, this study poses the question of how and to what extent researchers in mental health consider ethnic data to be significant for the experience of depression in individuals using digital psychotherapies
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECQI2024 - Participation, collaboration and co-creation: Qualitative inquiry across and beyond divides
Subtitle of host publicationCongress Proceedings
EditorsSanna Spišák
PublisherEuropean Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
Pages101-108
ISBN (Print)9789528401452
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • race
  • ethnicity
  • discourse analysis
  • digital psychotherapies
  • depression

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