Engaging Hope: The Experiences of Male Spouses of Women With Breast Cancer

Wendy Duggleby

Jill Bally

Dan Cooper

Heather J. Doell

Roanne Thomas

family caregivers, breast neoplasms
ONF 2012, 39(4), 400-406. DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.400-406

Purpose/Objectives: To explore the hope experience of male spouses of women with breast cancer.

Design: Thorne's qualitative interpretive descriptive approach was used.

Setting: Homes of participants in two western Canadian provinces.

Sample: 11 male spouses of women with breast cancer.

Methods: 24 open-ended tape-recorded telephone interviews were completed. Data were transcribed and then analyzed used Thorne's approach.

Main Research Variables: Hope.

Findings: The participants described their hope as tangible and important to them. Hope was influenced by their partners' hope and courage and gave participants the courage to support their partners. The overarching theme was engaging hope. The participants described their hope as always being there, but with the diagnoses of their partners' breast cancer, they needed to engage their hope. Other themes were finding balance, discovering what works, and focusing on the positives.

Conclusions: The participants emphasized the importance and the positive outcomes associated with hope, such as being able to continue caring for their partner.

Implications for Nursing: The importance of hope in the participants' lives underscores the need to find ways to foster hope in this population. The findings also suggest that the hope experience of men may differ from the experience of women; therefore, strategies to foster hope in this population should be tailored to the male experience.

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