Meaning making: Psychological adjustment to breast cancer by Chinese women

Siu Yin Ching, Ida M. Martinson, Thomas K.S. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Based on a study exploring the phenomenon of coping among Hong Kong Chinese women afflicted with breast cancer, from diagnosis to completion of treatment, we report the findings on meaning making by the informants. Using the grounded theory method, we conducted 35 interviews with 24 women suffering from breast cancer. Among them, we followed and interviewed 5 women thrice, from diagnosis to 3 months after completion of treatment. We noted the evolution of reframing as the key category in the adjustment process through which the women identified meaning at different points of time in the cancer experience, to achieve different outcomes. Chinese women identified a sustaining force from minimizing social disturbance during treatment. The integration of cancer into their lives after completion of treatment was achieved through positive transformation in their philosophy of life and social relationships. Nurses should aim to understand the cancer patients' interpretation of the situation, explore personally meaningful sustaining forces, and reflect on their cancer experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-262
Number of pages13
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012


  • breast
  • cancer
  • China
  • Chinese culture
  • coping and adaptation
  • grounded theory
  • nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Meaning making: Psychological adjustment to breast cancer by Chinese women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this