ABSTRACT: Breast cancer patients' perceptions of their husbands'
support in a cross-cultural context
In light of the Western focus in the breast cancer literature on spouse
support, this study attempted to investigate ethnic differences
in their perceptions of the support provided by their spouses.
Forty-six women who had had breast cancer 6 months to 3 years
prior participated in this study. These women were selected from
three ethnic groups (13 Euro-American (EA) women, 18 Chinese-American
women and 15 Japanese-American women).
The study attempted to
assess the women's perceptions at two levels of inquiry. One
was based on standardized testing and scales and the second was
a qualitative semi-structured interview. It was hypothesized
that few differences would exist in standardized testing, and
that cultural differences would be found at the level of semi-structured
Results showed that in fact few differences existed
among the three groups on standardized instruments. At the level
of qualitative evaluation, however, it appeared that Asian-American
women were expected to be self-sacrificing and nurturing of husband
and family, while EA women were able to be dependent.
major difference existed around the theme of harmony and intimacy,
where Asian-American women had a goal of harmony over intimacy,
while EA women had a goal of intimacy over harmony.
A final major
difference was in the area of communication, with both Asian
groups appearing to value non-verbal communication over verbal,
while EA women appeared to value verbal communication over non-verbal.
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