Psychological states and coping strategies after bereavement among the spouses of cancer patients: A qualitative study

Mariko Asai, Maiko Fujimori, Nobuya Akizuki, Masatoshi Inagaki, Yutaka Matsui, Yosuke Uchitomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Encouraging coping strategies that contribute to positive psychological states in bereaved individuals is assumed to be desirable; however, little is known about the components of positive psychological states and bereavement-specific coping strategies. The purpose of this study was to describe the components of psychological states and coping strategies after bereavement among the spouses of cancer patients. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted among bereaved spouses of cancer patients. Meaning units of the psychological state and coping strategy in the interview records were grouped into categories and themes based on their similarities using content analysis and constant comparison methods. Negative/positive psychological states and general/bereavement-specific coping strategies were identified by discussion among the authors. The number of participants who responded to each category was determined by two raters who were unaware of the categorized procedure. Results: Seven men and 17 women participated in the interviews. Forty-two categories of psychological states identified from 784 meaning units were grouped into six themes: 'Anxiety', 'Yearning', 'Anger', and 'Depression' were negative psychological states, while 'Acceptance' and 'Future-oriented Feelings' were positive psychological states. Thirty-three categories of coping strategies identified from 559 meaning units were grouped into six themes: 'Avoidance', 'Distancing', 'Emotional Expression', and 'Seeking Support' were general coping strategies, while 'Continuing Bonds' and 'Reconstruction of Life' were bereavement-specific coping strategies. Conclusions: Several original components of positive psychological states after bereavement and bereavement-specific coping strategies were identified, whereas most of the other components were consistent with previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
JournalPsycho-Oncology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Bereavement
  • Cancer
  • Coping strategy
  • Oncology
  • Psychological state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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