A two-stage exploratory study of the coping patterns of Arab women with breast cancer residing in the United Arab Emirates

Assaf, G 2011, A two-stage exploratory study of the coping patterns of Arab women with breast cancer residing in the United Arab Emirates, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Heath Sciences, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title A two-stage exploratory study of the coping patterns of Arab women with breast cancer residing in the United Arab Emirates
Author(s) Assaf, G
Year 2011
Abstract This study examined the United Arab Emirate womens coping patterns after being diagnosed with breast cancer in order to propose culturally and socially specific breast-cancer health education and management programs .

A two-phase, exploratory mixed-method design was employed, using a questionnaire and individual, face-to-face semi-structured interviews. A convenient sample of 250 adult (eighteen years and over) Arab women diagnosed with breast cancer were recruited from the UAE National Breast Cancer Registry during the period of 2005–2010. Twenty women participated in the semi-structured face-to-face interviews.

In phase one, all participants completed a piloted questionnaire ascertaining their (a) demographic and clinical characteristics, and (b) Jalowiec coping scale (which consisted of 60 coping-pattern questions). In phase two, the 20 participants who scored (a) the highest and (b) the lowest scores on the previous coping-scale questionnaire from phase one were invited to undertake face-to-face semi-structured interviews in order to provide more detail regarding the context of their coping-pattern assessments and how helpful these patterns were to them. Content data analysis involving a constant-comparison design was employed.

In the quantitative phase of the study, the seven hypotheses were addressed. Women from different age groups, marital status, parities, nationalities, educational levels, employment histories before and/or after the diagnosis of breast cancer, and with or without a family history of cancer ‘mostly used’ and perceived ‘the supportant coping style’ as ‘mostly effective’. Faith in God was identified by 98 per cent of the Arab breast-cancer survivors as their most important coping pattern.

In phase two, the content analysis revealed eight broad conceptualisations including reducing threats to identity; coping with changes in one’s self; seeking a healthy identity; coping by engaging in religious practices; overcoming the stigma and isolation; support in facing uncertainty; accepting support in achieving autonomy and independence; and accepting changes to identity.

Recommnedations are that UAE women with breast cancer, regardless of their nationality, need enhanced and specifically targeted cultural knowledge and appropriate psychosocial support in order to manage the challenges that they face in their everyday lives. There is an urgent need to develop strategic psychosocial components within the current breast-cancer support services and to strengthen the role of the self-help groups through structured organisational support. The UAE needs specific tailored undergraduate and postgraduate education on the spiritual and religious beliefs of their Arab female patients. It is imperative to include spiritual awareness within medical and nursing education.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Heath Sciences
Keyword(s) Coping Patterns
Arab Women
Breast Cancer
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Created: Wed, 12 Sep 2012, 13:15:30 EST by Brett Fenton
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