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01.03.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2018

Supportive Care in Cancer 3/2018

Psychological distress and coping strategies among women with incurable lung cancer: a qualitative study

Zeitschrift:
Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 3/2018
Autoren:
Yu-Chien Liao, Wei-Yu Liao, Jia-Ling Sun, Jen-Chung Ko, Chong-Jen Yu

Abstract

Purpose

Limited research has focused on women with lung cancer (LC) although they are recognized as the most vulnerable to psychological distress. This study explored in-depth the psychological distress experienced by women with incurable LC and analyzed the coping strategies with which they manage that distress.

Methods

A qualitative methodology with in-depth interviews was employed for 34 women with advanced or recurrent LC. An inductive data-driven thematic analysis was applied to analyze transcripts.

Results

Psychological distress was an iterative process for the women. Four themes were identified: shock regarding the diagnosis, distress regarding cancer treatment and its side effects, the facing of a recurrent or progressive disease, and persistent struggle with the life-limiting disease. Various coping strategies applied by the women to manage psychological distress were grouped into four themes: relying upon social support, focusing on positive thoughts, avoidance-based strategies, and religious faith and acceptance.

Conclusions

Women with incurable LC experienced substantial iterative psychological distress throughout the illness, regardless of length of illness at time of interview. They applied multiple forms of coping. The findings enrich the limited existing literature on this understudied population and provide direction for the future development of interventions to improve their psychological well-being.

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