Men's perspectives on individual and family coping with their wives' breast cancer and chemotherapy

West J Nurs Res. 2000 Jun;22(4):438-59. doi: 10.1177/019394590002200405.


Little research has examined the impact of cancer and chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer from men's perspectives as partners, fathers, and caregivers. This research, part of a larger study describing women's, partners', and children's perspectives, aims to describe men's perspectives on their experiences and how their wives' breast cancer and chemotherapy impacted them and their families, to describe what facilitated and hindered their coping, and to suggest interventions to assist men and their families to manage the experience with less stress. This participatory action study used qualitative naturalistic inquiry methods. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 11 male partners. Two major themes were identified: focusing on a wife's illness and care, and focusing on the family to keep life going. Nine sub-themes cut across the major themes: being there, relying on health care professionals, being informed and contributing to decision making, trying to keep patterns normal and family life going, helping out and relying on others, being positive, putting self on hold, adapting work life, and managing finances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost of Illness
  • Decision Making
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Men / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires