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Gender differences in patient´s written narratives when being diagnosed with cancer
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.
2005 (English)In: Psycho-Oncology, ISSN 1057-9249, E-ISSN 1099-1611, Vol. 14, no 8, 685-695 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The medical field has shown a growing interest in gender and gender differences. In psychosocial oncology, for example, some studies suggest that men and women cope differently with cancer; e.g. women express their emotions more readily than men do, and men rely more on their healthy spouse.

Using a qualitative perspective, this study examines 83 narratives written by male and female cancer patients who were asked to write down how they experienced receiving their cancer diagnosis. The narratives were analyzed both as to structure and content.

The women wrote longer, more personally, and more emotionally than the men, and to a greater extent they included family members and other relatives in their stories. When the men mentioned relatives, they mainly referred to their spouse. Men and women commented differently as to their experiences of ‘reception’; i.e. how their psychological needs were addressed and ‘connection’; i.e. whether they felt in sufficient contact with medical staff. Although the women described good reception, they complained a lot about bad connection. Among the men, it was just as common to report about positive as negative experiences in both categories.

There are reasons to be cautious when evaluating these findings. The found differences may be due to different ways of reacting to similar situations or different willingness and ways of commenting on similar situations, but also to different reception and connection for men and women. Further research should focus on the basic question: Are men and women without medical reasons being treated differently during their oncological treatment?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. , 2005. Vol. 14, no 8, 685-695 p.
Keyword [en]
bad news, cancer, emotions, gender, narrative
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-13750DOI: 10.1002/pon.895OAI: diva2:153421
Available from: 2007-12-08 Created: 2007-12-08 Last updated: 2016-01-01

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Salander, PärHamberg, Katarina
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Department of Social WorkDepartment of Public Health and Clinical Medicine
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