Decision-making in the cancer trajectory: mothers with cancer

by Heather J. Campbell-Enns

Institution: University of Manitoba
Department: Family Social Sciences
Degree: MS
Year: 2011
Keywords: decision-making; cancer; mothering; psychosocial; meaning-making
Record ID: 1891440
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1993/4356


Mothers with cancer are required to make medical and social decisions while attempting to balance their own physical, psychological and social needs with the needs of their children. To explore the decision-making process, in-depth interviews were conducted with 7 mothers with a cancer diagnosis and children aged birth to 6 years. They were asked to describe: 1) types of decisions; 2) process they used to make decisions; 3) conditions of their lives; 4) meanings assigned to their decisions. The grounded theory method was used. The driving force behind decision-making was the mothers’ desire to maintain the mother-child bond, influenced by the context of their lives. Making decisions to maintain the mother-child bond involved managing: 1) distance; 2) physical changes; 3) the information shared; and 4) the ongoing chain of decisions. The findings have implications for improving the quality and usefulness of psychosocial supports for mothers with cancer and their families.