Larinda Dixon

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Roth, Gene L.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Caring; African American families; Cancer--Patients--Family relationships; Cancer--Patients--Psychology


This dissertation assessed caring responses among individuals with a diagnosis of cancer and their family members who provided them the greatest amount of support when dealing with this diagnosis. A naturalistic approach was used to explore and analyze the meaning of caring and how caring impacts families when a family member has a potentially life-threatening disease such as cancer. The purpose of this research study was to examine the meaning of caring, the impact of caring, and how caring is displayed among family members when there is a diagnosis of cancer in an African American family. This study was intended to inform the development of educational programs and enhance research in the field of adult education, in the field of nursing, in the knowledge of African Americans, and for individuals who want to learn about African American families. This research study is significant because it provides an opportunity to expand the literature concerning African Americans as it pertains to the cultural belief systems and the impact of these beliefs systems in African American families. A limited number of research studies reported in the literature relate to how African Americans care. Caring for others has been an important concept that has been prevalent in this group of people. A qualitative method was used for this study to examine the cancer experience of individuals with the diagnosis of cancer and the family members who provided the greatest amount of support. Interviews allowed the researcher to study caring as a lived experience, determine the perceptions and feelings of African Americans toward caring, and examine how they developed the skill or ability to care for others. This study identified themes of caring, the defining attributes of caring, and the impact of caring on African American families. The results revealed that each family had a distinct family pattern of caring. This health crisis helped each of the participants to develop a self-awareness, a desire for more knowledge, and an understanding of the disease process and how to care for each other. The participants became self-directed and had a transformational experience.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [139]-152).


viii, 166 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type