Results of a longitudinal study (T1) investigating couple decision-making of a breast reconstruction for breast cancer.
Couples experience of a mastectomy for breast cancer and thoughts regarding breast reconstruction decision-making.
Treatment decision, as breast reconstruction (BR) in cancer treatment, is taken with family support and often with partners help. To our knowledge, only one retrospective study investigated couples decision-making experience toward BR. The aim of this mixed study is to explore couples experience and adjustment to breast cancer treatment. A second aim is to explore how BR decision-making is considered one month after the mastectomy.
Five women who had a first diagnosis of breast cancer and their partners were recruited before the mastectomy in three hospitals/clinics in France. Questionnaires were filed-out by couples before the mastectomy, evaluating dyadic coping (DCI), emotions (POMS), need for information (PINQ) and partners’ influence in treatment decision-making. The month after the mastectomy, an open interview was proposed to investigate the daily subjective experience of these couples. Interviews were subjected to an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and the results were then linked to questionnaires data. For this method, less than 10 interviews are required as individual’s experience is deeply explored.
Four main themes arose from the data: (1) disease as a new course of one’s life, (2) relationships with health providers, (3) role and difficulties encountered by partners and (4) concerns on BR. The interpretative story is linked to couples’ relationship history. Furthermore, questionnaires answers provide insight into couples’ relationship. Participants who express difficulties during the interview need more information and express more negative emotions.
These results underline difficulties couples can experience, especially in BR decision-making. Clear information on BR is needed at diagnosis.
1 – Laboratory of Psychopathology and Health Processes, EA4057, University of Paris Descartes, Boulogne-Billancourt – France
2 – Laboratory of Psychology: Relational Dynamics and Identity Processes , EA4452, University of Burgundy, Dijon – France
Poster presented at
32nd annual conference of the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS), august 2018, Galway, Ireland