Redefining Roles: Taiwanese Couples' Everyday Experiences of Living with Wife's Terminal Breast Cancer

Monday, 7 July 2008: 10:30 AM
Yu-Chuan Lin, RN, MN, PhD , Department of Nursing, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand how both individuals and couples redefine roles and responsibilities as wives moved towards death.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand how individuals and couples work together to deal with conflict and tension during the redefining roles process.

Taiwan nowadays is in a transition from role-based to affection-based and from large family networks to small family group. What needs to be known is in what ways how these changes affect Taiwanese couples' everyday experiences in the final course of wife's breast cancer at home. The purpose of this study was to document the lived experiences of Taiwanese couples living with wife's terminal breast cancer. Descriptive Phenomenology provided the methodological basis for data generation and analysis. Extensive face-to-face interviews were conducted with four couples who were taking care of their wife at home. Interviews were conducted from individual interviews with diagnosed wives and husbands as well as couple together at multiple occasions. A total of 37 interviews were yielded during the multiple occasions of data collection. Thematic analysis guided by Giorgi and van Manen was used to analyze the text generated from the interviews and field notes. Redefining Roles was the main theme that depicted the couples' everyday experiences. The day-to-day of the Redefining Roles was best understood in the context of the following three sub-themes: Shifting Reciprocity, Accepting Limitations Imposed by the Illness, and Letting Go of Her Former Responsibilities. The meaning units of each sub-theme offered details of Couples' feelings, thoughts, concerns, and action-oriented responses to Redefining Roles. This study informs health professionals that Taiwanese couples encountered conflict, tension and difficulties in their daily living. It is ethically essential to develop interventions to assist couples to transform their roles successfully in future clinical practices.