Reframing: Psychological adjustment of Chinese women at the beginning of the breast cancer experience

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we present findings from a larger study that explored how Chinese women cope with breast cancer. We report on the process of early psychological adjustment, along with contextual factors and how they influence the women's coping mechanisms at the beginning of the cancer experience. Twenty-four women with diagnoses of breast cancer were interviewed. The grounded theory method was adopted in data collection and analysis. "Reframing" was the core category of the early adjustment process. Focus and approach were the two contextual conditions. Women adopted "fighting," "following the natural course," "struggling," and "bearing" modes in coping with the disease. These findings highlight the significance of focusing on coping and realizing the role of the self in creating a subjective positive interpretation, which subsequently enhances acceptance of the disease at the beginning of the cancer experience. Characteristics of the Chinese people with respect to coping include the collaborative meaning of control and the philosophy of acquiescence to fate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-351
Number of pages13
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2009


  • Breast cancer
  • Chinese culture
  • Coping and adaptation
  • Grounded theory
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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