Exploration of the family's role and strengths after a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer: Views of women and their families

Coyne, Elisabeth, Wollin, Judy and Creedy, Debra K. (2012) Exploration of the family's role and strengths after a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer: Views of women and their families. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 16 2: 124-130. doi:10.1016/j.ejon.2011.04.013


Author Coyne, Elisabeth
Wollin, Judy
Creedy, Debra K.
Title Exploration of the family's role and strengths after a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer: Views of women and their families
Journal name European Journal of Oncology Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1462-3889
1532-2122
Publication date 2012-04-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ejon.2011.04.013
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 16
Issue 2
Start page 124
End page 130
Total pages 7
Place of publication Kidlington, United Kingdom
Publisher Churchill Livingstone
Language eng
Subject 2917 Oncology (nursing)
Abstract Purpose: This exploratory descriptive study examined the role and strengths of the family when supporting the younger woman (<50 years) after a diagnosis of breast cancer. The perspectives of women and family members were sought. Method: Participants were recruited from oncology outpatient units in Australia. Semi-structured interviews guided by the Family Resiliency Framework were undertaken with 14 young women with breast cancer and 11 family members who reflected on the roles of family. Transcripts were analysed individually and in family groupings. Results: Women with breast cancer and their family members experienced a range of emotions during the treatment period. Roles within the family changed as members responded to their circumstances. Analysis of interview transcripts identified the following primary themes; 'just being there', 'paradox of help' and 'buffer from society'. A secondary theme related to support, specifically 'the changing role of support for family members', highlighting the strengths and experiences of family. Conclusion: Recognition needs to be given to the complexity of changing roles experienced by young women with breast cancer and their families. Young women with breast cancer require unique forms of support because of the nature of their experience. Family roles were shaped through a shared sense of commitment and open communication amongst members. Families may demonstrate a range of strengths but are also vulnerable during this stressful period. Health professionals need to be aware of the possible needs of families, assess their adaptation to changing circumstances, and intervene through the provision of information, and counselling to enhance coping.
Formatted abstract
Purpose: This exploratory descriptive study examined the role and strengths of the family when supporting the younger woman (<50 years) after a diagnosis of breast cancer. The perspectives of women and family members were sought.

Method:
Participants were recruited from oncology outpatient units in Australia. Semi-structured interviews guided by the Family Resiliency Framework were undertaken with 14 young women with breast cancer and 11 family members who reflected on the roles of family. Transcripts were analysed individually and in family groupings.

Results:
Women with breast cancer and their family members experienced a range of emotions during the treatment period. Roles within the family changed as members responded to their circumstances. Analysis of interview transcripts identified the following primary themes; ‘just being there’, ‘paradox of help’ and ‘buffer from society’. A secondary theme related to support, specifically ‘the changing role of support for family members’, highlighting the strengths and experiences of family.

Conclusion:
Recognition needs to be given to the complexity of changing roles experienced by young women with breast cancer and their families. Young women with breast cancer require unique forms of support because of the nature of their experience. Family roles were shaped through a shared sense of commitment and open communication amongst members. Families may demonstrate a range of strengths but are also vulnerable during this stressful period. Health professionals need to be aware of the possible needs of families, assess their adaptation to changing circumstances, and intervene through the provision of information, and counselling to enhance coping.  
Keyword Nursing
Young women
Family
Breast cancer
Qualitative interviews
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 12 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 01 Feb 2012, 04:40:15 EST by Rachelle Croton on behalf of School of Psychology