Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gyant, LaVerne, 1950-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Cancer--Patients--Family relationships; Breast--Cancer--Psychological aspects; African American women--Diseases--Psychology; Mothers and daughters


This study explored how young African American women with breast cancer and their biological mothers constructed their own conceptualization and solutions to breast cancer from their lived experience w ith the disease. A naturalistic approach was used to explore and analyze the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes of young African American women w ith breast cancer and their biological mothers. Semistructured interview technique was the qualitative m ethod used to elicit the data. The voices of 14 African American women provided rich, thick descriptive data about their knowledge, feelings, and beliefs about breast cancer and how they were treated by their families and the medical community. The findings reveal that African A merican mothers and daughters have a wide variety of beliefs about breast cancer that are rooted in historical, social, and cultural experiences. Stereotypes and myths continue to emerge from their beliefs. Several women com monly reported issues of distrust and disrespect in the medical community. Fear of breast cancer for African American mothers and daughters centered on not having health insurance, access to medical care, and multiple treatment options. The results of the discussions w ith A frican Am erican daughters w ith breast cancer and their biological mothers revealed that informal self-directed learning was a m ajor component used throughout their learning process to become knowledgeable about health issues, especially as they related to breasts and breast cancer.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [273]-286).


xi, 296 pages




Northern Illinois University

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