Making expertise fit: On the use of certified versus experiential knowledge in becoming an informed patient

Wytske Versteeg, Hedwig te Molder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article reports a discursive psychological study of online conversations among patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on what constitutes an “informed patient.” Being informed means different things for different patient groups. Whether patients prioritize experiential or certified expert knowledge is not indicative of patients’ preferences per se but depends on how they give meaning to the responsibilities particular to their disease. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder patients hold each other accountable for demonstrating the seriousness of their disease. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients use expert information to orient to a norm of thinking positive. Diabetes patients challenge experts to carve out independence from the diabetes regimen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-859
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was financially supported by the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

FundersFunder number
Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu


    • chronic illness
    • communication
    • coping
    • epistemology
    • experience
    • information
    • norms
    • self-presentation
    • social interaction
    • social media


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