Women’s experience of reading fiction while on sick leave

Cecilia Pettersson


The article presents an empirical study of women’s experiences of reading fiction while on sick leave. The aim is to discuss questions concerning the choice of literature and the function of reading in a bibliotherapeutic context from the viewpoint
of literary studies. The results presented shed new light on previous research on bibliotherapy. They also show that the surveyed women’s reading patterns correspond very well with how women have read historically. Thus, the literary studies perspective applied in the study opens up for a more broad- minded approach to the selection of literature and to different kinds of reading in bibliotherapy than has been customary. In addition, it suggests that research on bibliotherapy has every- thing to gain from taking a gender perspective.

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