The Experiences of Chinese Couples Living with Cancer: A Focus Group Study

Qiuping Li, Chung Lim Vico Chiang, Xifeng Xu, Yinghua Xu, Jean Tak Alice Loke Yuen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: With the research focus on family caregiving shifting from the individual to the dyadic level, there is a need to explore cancer dyads' concerns and needs and to understand their experiences of coping together with cancer. Objective: To objectives of this study were to gain a better understanding of the experience of couples living with cancer and to explore cancer couples' concerns and needs related to the caring role and experience of spousal caregivers. Methods: The focus group study design with a purposeful sampling strategy was adopted. We conducted 4 focus group interviews with 11 cancer patients and 17 spousal caregivers in a hospital. Results: Four themes and 15 subthemes emerged after a conventional content analysis. The 4 themes include communication dynamics, living with changes, negative and positive impacts, and network of support. Based on the findings, we drew a preliminary conceptualization of the couples' experience of coping and living with cancer as a whole. Conclusions: This study provided insights to healthcare professionals regarding daily struggles of couples living with cancer and the development of intervention programs to support these couples. Implications for Practice: Healthcare professionals need to (1) be sensitive to the couples' needs and concerns, (2) offer sufficient and useful information to couples who are coping with cancer, (3) encourage and help spousal caregivers to take care of themselves while coping with the changes in their spouses, and (4) instill realistic hopes in couples and help them to sustain a positive attitude with a focus on the future, not just on the present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2015


  • Cancer
  • Caregivers
  • Chinese culture
  • Coping
  • Focus group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)

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