Living with breast cancer emotion-work strategies in breast cancer support groups /
Abstract (Summary)CLARK, JACQUELINE. Living with Breast Cancer: Emotion-Work Strategies in Breast Cancer Support Groups. (Under the direction of Michael L. Schwalbe.) Research on stress and coping has attempted to explain how people deal with difficult life events, such as the diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening disease. Little attention, however, has been given to how people work together to cope with and manage the emotions evoked by such events. The present study looks at women who joined four breast cancer support groups to help them cope with the emotional fallout of the disease. Data from participant observation in these four groups, in addition to 35 in-depth interviews, are used to develop an analysis of how the women learned to cope collectively with their disease. Seven emotion-work strategies are identified and discussed, including: (a) seeking information; (b) concealing illness; (c) engaging in sexualized joking; (d) practicing compensatory femininity; (e) creating and sharing medicalized stories; (f) taking on the identity of breast cancer survivor; and (g) redefining illness as a blessing. The analysis shows how these strategies were influenced by the class-based resources the women brought with them to the groups. It also illustrates how these strategies (and thus the women’s coping efforts) were influenced and constrained by the mainstream breast cancer culture.
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:north carolina state university
Date of Publication: