The Gendered Construction and Experience of Difficulties and Rewards in Cancer Care

1University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Qualitative Health Research (Impact Factor: 2.19). 04/2013; 23(7):900-915. DOI: 10.1177/1049732313484197
Source: PubMed


Women cancer carers have consistently been found to report higher levels of distress than men carers. However, there is little understanding of the mechanisms underlying these gender differences in distress, and a neglect of rewarding aspects of care. We conducted in-depth semistructured interviews with 53 informal cancer carers, 34 women and 19 men, to examine difficult and rewarding aspects of cancer care. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the transcripts. Women were more likely to report negative changes in the relationship with the person with cancer; neglect of self, social isolation, and physical health consequences; anxiety; personal strength and growth; and to position caring as a privilege. Men were more likely to report increased relational closeness with the person with cancer, and the burden of additional responsibilities within the home as a difficult aspect of caring. We interpret these findings in relation to a social constructionist analysis of gender roles.

Download full-text


Available from: Jane Ussher, Jan 22, 2014
47 Reads
  • Source
    • "Whilst this is consistent with previous research reporting that difficulties in the caring role are associated with lack of affection in couple relationships (Allen et al., 1999; Ribeiro & Paul, 2008), our finding is inconsistent with the majority of research specifically on men carers. Previous research has found that the majority of men primarily report positive aspects of their caring, such as pride (Calasanti & King, 2007), a sense of purpose and identity (Seymour-Smith & Wetherell, 2006), or a deepening of their intimate relationship (Ribeiro & Paul, 2008), and pleasure in their caring accomplishments (Ussher et al., 2013); standing in stark contrast to Ben's account. The negotiation of identities within a caring context is a relational experience (Seymour-Smith & Wetherell, 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Providing care to a partner with cancer can have a significant impact on a carer's wellbeing and experience of subjectivity. However, there is little research examining how men experience the role of cancer carer, and in particular, how they negotiate constructions of gender in this role. This paper draws on a single case study of a heterosexual man caring for his partner, and conducts a narrative analysis of the construction and performance of masculine subjectivity. It was found that rather than inhabiting a stable masculinity, this carer engaged in a complex negotiation of masculinities, enacting a caring role associated with victimisation, rejection, distress, and powerlessness, as well as strength and heroic resilience. We highlight the importance of the relationship context to the experience of caring, and suggest that research into the gendered experience of cancer care needs to acknowledge the active negotiation of masculinities and caring. We also discuss the utility of case study research in analyses of masculinity and cancer care, and in health psychology more broadly.
    Psychology and Health 07/2014; 29(12):1-31. DOI:10.1080/08870446.2014.948876 · 2.13 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We examined how university leaders described what and who needed to change in order to increase the representation of female faculty in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) departments. Thirty-one (28 men and 3 women) STEM departmental chairs and deans at a large, public university participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were examined using both qualitative and quantitative procedures. Analysis focused on participants’ descriptions of responsibility for changes related to gender equity. Using the distinction of high versus low responsibility, themes were examined for their qualitative characteristics as well as their frequency. Leaders who exhibited high personal responsibility most frequently saw themselves as needing to change and also named their male colleagues as concurrently responsible for diversity. Conversely, leaders who exhibited low personal responsibility most frequently described female faculty as responsible and described women’s attitudes and their ‘‘choice’’ to have a family as obstacles to gender diversity in STEM. We argue that the dimensions of high and low responsibility are useful additions to discussions of leadership, workplace diversity initiatives, and gender equity more broadly. To this end, we provide several methodological tools to examine these subtle, yet essential, aspects of how diversity and change efforts are imagined and discussed.
    Psychology of Women Quarterly 05/2014; DOI:10.1177/0361684314537997 · 2.12 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article explores Pakistani and Bangladeshi young men’s experiences of schooling to examine what inclusion/exclusion means to them. Qualitative research was undertaken with 48 Pakistani and Bangladeshi young men living in areas of the West Midlands, England. The young men highlighted three key areas: the emergence of a schooling regime operating through neo-liberal principles, the recognition of class difference between themselves and teachers, and their awareness of how racialization operated through codes of masculinity. In conclusion, it is argued that research on issues of inclusion/exclusion should be cautious when interpreting new forms of class identity through conventional categories of ethnicity.
    British Journal of Sociology of Education 09/2014; 35(5). DOI:10.1080/01425692.2014.919848 · 0.97 Impact Factor
Show more