To know or not to know: the case of communication by and with older adult Russians diagnosed with cancer

J Cross Cult Gerontol. 2004 Dec;19(4):383-403. doi: 10.1023/B:JCCG.0000044690.45414.f7.


This paper describes the ways in which group identifications and stereotypes can inform our understanding of cancer treatment and survivorship, as well as the more general social processes surrounding the communicative experiences of older adult Russians diagnosed with cancer, by providing a theoretical essay (with some modest illustrative data) to shed light on salient cross-cultural health and identity issues. Utilizing an approach grounded in social identity theory, it describes the ways in which understanding primary identities associated with large social collectives such as cultural groups, secondary identities associated with health behaviors and tertiary identities associated with a cancer diagnosis can help explain certain cancer-related social processes. Subtle cultural differences in approaches to health care, particularly with older adult populations, are likely influenced by assumptions embedded in their economic, social, and political systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication Barriers
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Life Style
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Russia
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Perception
  • Social Values*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stereotyping
  • Survivors / psychology
  • Truth Disclosure*