Document Detail

Struggling with paradoxes: the process of spiritual development in women with cancer.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11759301     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To examine the process of spiritual development in women diagnosed with cancer within five years of initial treatment. DESIGN: Exploratory, qualitative. SETTING: Outpatients in the mid-central and southwestern United States. SAMPLE: 10 Caucasian women, ages 45-70, who completed initial treatment, were not undergoing treatment for recurrence, and were within five years of diagnosis for breast or ovarian cancer or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. METHODS: Data collected during two semistructured interviews, coded and analyzed using grounded theory techniques. Frame of reference--symbolic interactionism. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Developmental processes of spirituality; responses to diagnosis, treatment, and survival of cancer. FINDINGS: Diagnosis of cancer threatened the meaning of the women's lives, resulting in a sense of disintegration. This problem was resolved through the basic social psychological process of Struggling With Paradoxes, a three-phase process of Deciphering the Meaning of Cancer for Me, Recognizing Human Limitations, and Learning to Live with Uncertainty. In phase I, the paradoxes focused on the possibility of death, distress, vulnerability, and maintaining connection. In phase II, the paradoxes involved confronting death, asking difficult questions, and letting go of ultimate control of their lives. In phase III, the paradoxes centered on uncertainty, redefining meaning, and identifying spiritual growth. Reintegration occurred over time, although when threatened by the possibility of recurrence, disintegration resurfaced for a time. CONCLUSIONS: Findings emphasize not only the importance of spirituality, but also that spiritual experience is individualized and developmental in nature. Spiritual growth occurs over time following the diagnosis of cancer and is not necessarily related to age. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Spiritual concerns may be painful for patients to address; spiritual caregiving requires an acknowledgment of need by the woman with cancer and a caring, sensitive caregiver. Nurses should be aware of the phases of spiritual development so that interventions can be designed to address individual needs that may vary over time.
M T Halstead; M Hull
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oncology nursing forum     Volume:  28     ISSN:  0190-535X     ISO Abbreviation:  Oncol Nurs Forum     Publication Date:    2001 Nov-Dec
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-12-10     Completed Date:  2002-04-10     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7809033     Medline TA:  Oncol Nurs Forum     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1534-44     Citation Subset:  IM; N    
Department of Nursing, Towson University, Towson, MD, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Psychological*
Attitude to Death
Attitude to Health*
Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis,  psychology*,  therapy
Conflict (Psychology)
Holistic Health
Human Development*
Internal-External Control
Life Change Events
Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnosis,  psychology*,  therapy
Middle Aged
Models, Psychological
Nursing Methodology Research
Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis,  psychology*,  therapy
Self Care / methods,  psychology
Stress, Psychological / prevention & control,  psychology
Women / psychology*

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