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Qualities in the short life: psychological studies relevant to patient and spouse in malignant glioma
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology.
1996 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with psychological issues concerning patients with malignant gliomas, and their spouses. There is no known medical cure, and the patients have a limited survival expectancy. Therefore studies evaluating new treatment modes, an overall supportive atmosphere, and attempts to avoid imposing unnessesary strain are necessary.

Thirty consecutive patients with astrocytomas, grade III-IV, were included in a clinical trial with estramustine phosphate in addition to conventional treatment with surgery and radiotherapy. Both the patients and their spouses participated in the present study which aimed at a deeper understanding of the psychological processes relevant to their situation. By means of repeated thematically structured interviews, patients and spouses were followed separately during the entire course of the disease process. In addition to these interviews, all patients were assessed with a mini-mental examination, and five-month survivors were tested with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Questionnaires on reaction to the diagnosis and assessing psychosocial well-being were also administered to the patients.

The interviews were analysed with grounded theory methodology and the findings were juxtaposed to concepts in psychoanalysis and coping theory. The main finding was that the patients, despite or owing to their severe medical situations, showed a marked capacity to create protection and hope. By means of biased perception they created an 'illusion' that palliated their strain. This finding is related to object-relational psychoanalysis with obvious implications for the crucial discussion on telling bad news. Another finding was that the spouses displayed different crisis trajectories depending on the overall status of their partners. Different senses of the relationship were related to different modes of coping. Especially spouses to patients with personality changes were put under severe strain and ought to be acknowledged by medical staff. Patients with no obvious deficits five months after termination of primary treatment nevertheless evidenced, at neuropsychological testing, a pronounced deficiancy in long-term memory, but no clear impairment in global intellectual capacities. Estramustine phosphate was found to have a negative impact on sexuality and might be one causative agent behind the decline in long-term memory, but these adversive effects did not seem to affect psychosocial well-being. The selective reminding technique proved to be sensitive in detecting deficits and is recommended in future clinical trials affecting the CNS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 1996. , 74 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 486
Keyword [en]
astrocytoma, communication, coping, defence mechanism, denial, glioma, hope, memory, neuropsychology, quality of life, spouse
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96905ISBN: 91-7191-236-3OAI: diva2:769175
Public defence
1996-11-15, Rosa salen (sal B), Tandläkarhögskolan, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:00

Diss. (sammanfattning) Umeå : Umeå universitet, 1996, härtill 5 uppsatser.

Available from: 2015-02-02 Created: 2014-12-05 Last updated: 2015-04-10Bibliographically approved

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