From Life-Threatening Experiences to Ideas of Rescue: Coping with “Trajectories of Suffering†in Adult Acute Leukaemia Survivors

Submitted: July 22, 2012
Accepted: September 26, 2012
Published: February 17, 2013
Abstract Views: 951
PDF: 662
Table 1. Age, socio-demographic data and length of interview.: 0
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We investigated the illness records and life stories of 17 leukaemia survivors using narrative autobiographical interviews. Audio tapes were transcribed and analysed according to qualitative methodology. Using the sociological concept of “trajectory of suffering†(TOS) as a means of analysis we focused on the survivors’ mechanisms of psychosocial adaptation including integration of disease-related experiences as part of their autobiographical narration. Verbal data show how the diagnosis pulls affected people out of their everyday life from healthy, strong and with plans for the future to seriously ill, weak and facing death, and thus suspends their self-confidence and social action competence. Analysing the interview transcripts we found six categories of coping with TOS: (1) personal meaningful nourishments, (2) challenging experience with significant others, (3), courage to persevere, (4) family support, (5) dramatic family events, and (6) dreams. The results of our study demonstrate that the cancer is still a dark shadow over the lives of all survivors. They are discussed in the context of coping theory postulating creativity as an up to now underestimated resource of coping behaviour. As a consequence it seems to be vital that medical staff should recognize and discuss these individual needs and feelings of their patients in daily clinical practice.

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Heine, V., Schultze, F., Koehler, M., & Frommer, J. (2013). From Life-Threatening Experiences to Ideas of Rescue: Coping with “Trajectories of Suffering” in Adult Acute Leukaemia Survivors. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 15(2), 107–116. https://doi.org/10.4081/ripppo.2012.115

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