Date of Graduation
This was a qualitative study designed to explore the relationship of a woman's age and individual responses to four psychological issues she faces when undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The study involved 8 participants between the ages of 30 and 80 who had recently been diagnosed with Stage I or Stage II breast cancer and had recently undergone a surgical intervention and adjuvant treatment. Participants were asked to participate in an open-ended, semi-structured interview. They were also asked to complete the Psychological Adjustment to Illness Scale-Self-Report by Leonard R. Derogatis (Derogatis, 1983). In order to examine a woman's age as a factor the first research question was designed to look at age from a life span perspective. The remaining four questions addressed the four psychological issues and data analysis was used to determine if age was a factor. The following research questions were addressed in this investigation: (a) How is breast cancer situated in the participants' life history? (b) How has undergoing treatment for breast cancer impacted the participants' self-concept (body image, sexuality)? (c) How has undergoing treatment for breast cancer impacted relationships (partners, family members, friends, and social relationships)? (d) How do the participants feel about the quality of treatment they have received for breast cancer (preparation, information, and quality)? (e) How has having breast cancer impacted the participants' outlook for the future? Several important findings related to age and treatment issues emerged from this study. In addition, it emerged that there were universal themes that all women in this study, each of whom was facing a life threatening illness, experienced regardless of their age. The universal themes that emerged were acquisition and loss, connections, locus of control and a heightened sense of others' perceptions. Another significant finding was the importance of the relationship of a woman's treatment protocol to her psychological well-being. Understanding the implications of the treatment protocol revealed the need for a more holistic approach towards treatment. Implications for practice of psychology and future research were also addressed.
Hammond, Lynn Carol, "A qualitative study of treatment issues of eight women with breast cancer." (2000). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8987.