Making sense of brain tumour: A qualitative investigation of personal and social processes of adjustment

Ownsworth, Tamara, Chambers, Suzanne K., Hawkes, Anna L., Walker, David, & Shum, David (2011) Making sense of brain tumour: A qualitative investigation of personal and social processes of adjustment. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 21(1), pp. 117-137.

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This study investigated personal and social processes of adjustment at different stages of illness for individuals with brain tumour. A purposive sample of 18 participants with mixed tumour types (9 benign and 9 malignant) and 15 family caregivers was recruited from a neurosurgical practice and a brain tumour support service. In-depth semi-structured interviews focused on participants’ perceptions of their adjustment, including personal appraisals, coping and social support since their brain tumour diagnosis. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically using open, axial and selective coding techniques. The primary theme that emerged from the analysis entailed “key sense making appraisals”, which was closely related to the following secondary themes: (1) Interactions with those in the healthcare system, (2) reactions and support from the personal support network, and (3) a diversity of coping efforts. Adjustment to brain tumour involved a series of appraisals about the illness that were influenced by interactions with those in the healthcare system, reactions and support from people in their support network, and personal coping efforts. Overall, the findings indicate that adjustment to brain tumour is highly individualistic; however, some common personal and social processes are evident in how people make sense of and adapt to the illness over time. A preliminary framework of adjustment based on the present findings and its clinical relevance are discussed. In particular, it is important for health professionals to seek to understand and support individuals’ sense-making processes following diagnosis of brain tumour.

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13 citations in Scopus
11 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 40046
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding and support from Cancer Council Queensland, Griffith University and BrizBrain & Spine. We particularly acknowledge the skills and support of Vivian Biggs, Sharon Parker, Narina Jenkinson, Brooke Stem, Julie Castellini, Jennifer Silva, Ben Walters, Kellie Brownlea, Billy Gannon and Linda Spitzer. We also extend our gratitude to the participants of the study.
Keywords: Brain Tumour, Adjustment, Social Support, Coping, Sense-making
DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2010.537073
ISSN: 0960-2011
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > OTHER PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (179900)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Psychology Press, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business
Deposited On: 14 Feb 2011 00:23
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2017 15:01

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