The symptom appraisal of breast cancer in the context of an intimate relationship

Karen Fergus, Barbara Fitzgerald, Leeat Granek, Mark Clemons, Lynn Zalany, Andrea Eisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to understand how a self-detected breast abnormality is experienced within the context of an intimate relationship. Of specific interest were spousal interactions that influenced (facilitated or impeded) timely presentation for medical evaluation. Fourteen women who were in a relationship at the time of symptom discovery and seven of their male partners were interviewed. Interview transcripts were analyzed using the grounded theory method. Tenuous Knowing and Spiral of Disclosure defined two main processes that a woman negotiated within herself in relation to her partner upon discovery of a breast change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-666
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • grounded theory
  • relationships
  • spouse
  • symptom appraisal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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