Couple relationships in families with dependent children after a diagnosis of maternal breast cancer in the United Kingdom: Perspectives from mothers and fathers

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Corney, Roslyn ; Puthussery, Shuby ; Swinglehurst, Jane (2016)

This article examines the facilitators and the barriers to couple relationships in families in the UK with dependent children after a diagnosis of maternal breast cancer. Qualitative data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 23 participants, including 10 couples and three women whose partners did not take part. Recorded interviews were analysed using a thematic approach identifying themes and patterns in the interview transcripts and categorizing them using a framework. Key individual and contextual factors perceived as barriers or facilitators to couple relationships included: being a “young” family with young children, frustration and resentment from male partners, women’s reactions to the illness, individual communication styles, differing needs for “personal space,” body image concerns, and social support. Findings indicated the need for strengthening “family focus” in services with adequate support for male partners. Health and family services should consider variability in the experiences of couples with dependent children and be sensitive to the needs of partners alongside the women.
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