Couple processes as a context for breast cancer recovery: doing everything we can
This research study was an exploratory effort designed to explicate the relational processes that developed between women and their male partners as they negotiated the early breast cancer recovery. Case-intensive interview data obtained from individual interviews with women and men as well as couples together were analyzed using an interpretive approach. Within a family qualitative methodology, data analytic strategies were developed that allowed for analyses across individual and dyadic interview data.Processes, as active strategies, characterized both the individual's as well as the couple's response to the illness. Relational or dyadic processes are the strategies that the couple developed together in response to the breast cancer diagnosis, the demands of the illness, and their interactions as a couple about the breast cancer. As well, the couple responded to the medical context inherent in the recovery.The explanatory construct "Doing Everything We Can" organized the individual's and couple's overall response to the intrusion of breast cancer and exemplified their fight against the cancer. The processes that characterized the breast cancer recovery for these individuals and dyads demonstrated the enormity of the situation for each couple.Individuals responded to the breast cancer by: Taking Charge of My Life, Seeking Support, and Protecting Self or Other. The dyadic processes included: Sharing in the Recovery, Helping Her, Moderating the Intrusion of the Cancer, and Normalizing the Household.The individual and dyadic processes reflected attempts to both actively deal with the cancer as well as to moderate its intrusiveness into the family's previous day-to-day living. Families who placed a high value on getting their households back to the pre-diagnosis state may be ignoring the woman's individual needs for recovery. Nursing intervention for families must reflect the tension between the individual woman's needs during the recovery and the family's needs.
- Nursing - Seattle