Exploring identity in the 'figured worlds' of cancer caregiving and marriage in Australia

Olson, Rebecca E. (2015) Exploring identity in the 'figured worlds' of cancer caregiving and marriage in Australia. Health and Social Care in the Community, 23 2: 171-179. doi:10.1111/hsc.12132

Author Olson, Rebecca E.
Title Exploring identity in the 'figured worlds' of cancer caregiving and marriage in Australia
Journal name Health and Social Care in the Community   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0966-0410
Publication date 2015-03-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/hsc.12132
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 23
Issue 2
Start page 171
End page 179
Total pages 9
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Following changes in the structure and funding of the Australian medical system, patients have become 'consumers' or 'clients'. Family and friends have become 'carers' or 'caregivers', signifying their increased responsibilities as patients move from hospitals to communities. While policy makers embrace the term 'carer', some argue that the title is not widely recognised and has disempowering connotations. This paper examines spouses' reflections on the term 'carer' based on qualitative interviews with 32 Australians caring for a spouse with cancer from a study conducted between 2006 and 2009. Recruitment involved survey and snowball sampling. Following a grounded theory approach, data collection and analysis were performed simultaneously. Using Holland and colleagues' sociocultural 'identity as practice' theory and a thematic approach to analysis, findings depict identification with the 'spouse' and 'carer' label as relationally situated and dependent on meaningful interaction. Although others argue that the term 'carer' is a 'failure', these findings depict identification with the label as contextual, positional and enacted, not fixed. Furthermore, and of most significance to practitioners and policy makers, the title has value, providing carers with an opportunity to position themselves as entitled to inclusion and support, and providing health professionals with a potential indicator of a spouse's increased burden
Keyword Cancer
Family caregiving
Informal carers
Medical sociology
Qualitative research
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
School of Social Science Publications
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Created: Wed, 22 Jul 2015, 08:55:42 EST by Rebecca Olson on behalf of School of Social Science