Psychosocial concerns and individual anxieties for fathers with testicular cancer

Russell, Kathleen Sheridan (2015) Psychosocial concerns and individual anxieties for fathers with testicular cancer. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Full text available

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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the major areas of psychosocial concerns, individual anxieties and coping responses for fathers with testicular cancer. While numerous studies have been carried out with mothers with cancer, research from the perspective of fathers with cancer is sparse. This study attempts to identify and explore their specific concerns and priorities. The study was approved by the Royal Marsden Hospital (RMH) Committee for Clinical Research (CCR) and the Local Research Ethics Committee (LREC). Men were recruited from the RMH Testicular Clinic. All of the men had two or three school age children and were from a range of ethnic backgrounds, professions and education levels. The Biographical Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM) of interviewing was used and the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) method was employed to analyze the data. Psychodynamic concepts were utilized as the theoretical framework to develop interpretations for each participant. Theories of masculinity were also incorporated. A set of themes emerged which was supported by the current literature. The psychosocial concerns included: lack of adequate medical information, concerns for children and wife and work concerns. The individual anxieties included: concerns around self concepts and masculinity, physical changes and self-image, challenges to faith and finding meaning, fear of recurrence, fear of death and annihilation. The participants employed specific coping responses including: intellectualization, minimizing, maintaining stoic façade and idealization which helped them to cope with the impact of their disease AND allowed them to maintain their sense of masculinity. This phenomenon was labeled “The Masculine Way of Handling Illness”. Additionally, the men split their cancer into the “good one to get”. The findings suggest that men need more reliable information, preferably on a reputable UK site, about talking to their children, the physical effects of treatment and the options of having a prosthesis.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of East London in collaboration with the Tavistock Clinic for the award of Professional Doctorate in Social Work
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Social Work and Emotional Wellbeing, D60
Subjects: Families > Father Child Relations
Human Psychological Processes > Stress
Sex Psychology > Males/Men
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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