Stefania M. Maci University of Bergamo ”Parents’ narrative about congenital heart diseases: Acquiring knowledge and sharing empathy.”


This paper tries to describe the narratives of parents with children who have a heart condition and who want to share their experience, as found at, in order to detect how information, knowledge (and empathy) are deployed with the aim of helping other people in a similar situation to fill a cognitive and emotional gap. The investigation was carried out by detecting the most recurrent discursive patterns in the narratives, followed by an analysis of the most frequently used verb that best expresses parents’ cognitive awareness (or lack of it) in their experience with their children with congenital heart disease: know. The discourses in these self-narratives follow an emotional flow which varies from story to story but presents a recurrent thread. This does not follow a precise chronological order, as flash-backs and emotions prevail in all the stories, but the main points are found in them all. The analysis of the most frequently used verb, know, carried out with Voyant,reflects the described narratives. The leitmotif underpinning all these points is the question of good parenthood: good parents are those who protect their children.

Keywords: discourse analysis, medical popularized discourse, corpus linguistics, empa-thy, online health communication.

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