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Title:Cancer Survivorship: Couples' Communication and Adjustment After Treatment Is Complete
Author(s):Miller, Laura Elizabeth
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Caughlin, John P.
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Oncology
Abstract:Improved cancer treatments have resulted in more positive prognoses and many more people are now living longer beyond treatment. Accompanied with such medical advancements, however, are the uncertainties and dilemmas associated with surviving cancer. These challenges affect not only the survivors but also their families, especially close relational partners. Communicating amid a cancer experience, for example, can be difficult for couples, and survivors must face these challenges for extended periods of time. Couples' uncertainty management attempts also are complex, as each partner's uncertainty can affect the other's coping; moreover partners' preferences for managing uncertainty may not align. The current study employed a communication perspective to explore the connections among couples' openness, avoidance, and uncertainty. In-depth interviews with 35 cancer survivors and 25 partners yielded insight into the specific challenges individuals face after completing cancer treatment. Couples reported challenges relating to (a) relational communication, (b) identity negotiations, (c) maintaining control of health, and (d) disrupted lives. Potential dilemmas associated with each challenge complicated couples' coordination of talk. The results are discussed in terms of the multiple goals and multiple meanings inherent in couples' communicative and uncertainty management efforts. The findings from this study demonstrate how the dyadic context creates distinct coping demands and imply that there are better and worse ways to communicatively manage both partners' uncertainty. These data highlight cancer's lingering challenges and offer preliminary recommendations for normatively coping with cancer survivorship.
Issue Date:2009
Description:312 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3392221
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2009

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