How Patients Adjust Psychologically to the Experience of Head and Neck Cancer: A Grounded Theory

Calver, Louise and Tickle, Anna and Biswas, Sanchia and Moghaddam, Nima (2019) How Patients Adjust Psychologically to the Experience of Head and Neck Cancer: A Grounded Theory. European Journal of Cancer Care . ISSN 0961-5423

Full content URL: http://doi.org/10.1111/ecc.13068

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How Patients Adjust Psychologically to the Experience of Head and Neck Cancer: A Grounded Theory
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Abstract

Objective: Numerous physical and psychological challenges are recognised as consequences of head and neck cancer and its treatment, but little is known about how patients adjust psychologically to these experiences. This study aimed to develop a theoretical understanding of the processes patients engage in when adjusting to head and neck cancer.
Method: Twelve patients participated in semi-structured interviews conducted individually and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using Grounded Theory methodology.
Results: Analysis generated a core category of “modifying my relationship to the changes cancer brings”, which encompassed 11 processes patients engaged in throughout their adjustment: “survive mode”, “instrumental support from others”, “making a choice”, “developing own understanding”, “acceptance”, “talking with others”, “making changes”, “redefining or regaining normality”, “managing emotions/distressing thoughts”, “putting things into perspective”, and “barriers to progress”. Contrasting findings are discussed and a model of psychological adjustment to head and neck cancer is proposed.
Conclusion: The study found that patients engage in a series of processes throughout adjustment to head and neck cancer, which broadly map on to the cancer treatment trajectory, though these processes did not appear to be specific to head and neck cancer. The proposed model may be used as a framework to guide psychological interventions.

Keywords:head and neck cancer, adjustment, psycho-oncology, cancer, grounded theory
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C840 Clinical Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C841 Health Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:35597
Deposited On:11 Apr 2019 15:19

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