"God will get me through": African American women coping with breast cancer and implications for support groups.

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This research examines the coping processes of African American women with breast cancer and how those processes relate to low usage of cancer support groups by these women. Prior coping research has utilized predominantly White samples. The limited research on African American coping responses is conflicting and characterized by small samples and non-probability sampling techniques. In this study, 26 respondents from Central and North Texas metropolitan areas were interviewed, including 9 key informants, 9 African American breast cancer survivors, and 8 White survivors. The data suggest that African American and White women cope with breast cancer in significantly different ways. ... continued below

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McCoy, Brenda G. May 2005.

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  • McCoy, Brenda G.

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This research examines the coping processes of African American women with breast cancer and how those processes relate to low usage of cancer support groups by these women. Prior coping research has utilized predominantly White samples. The limited research on African American coping responses is conflicting and characterized by small samples and non-probability sampling techniques. In this study, 26 respondents from Central and North Texas metropolitan areas were interviewed, including 9 key informants, 9 African American breast cancer survivors, and 8 White survivors. The data suggest that African American and White women cope with breast cancer in significantly different ways. Culture appears to account for the differences. All African American breast cancer survivors identified faith as their primary coping strategy. In contrast, only half of the White survivors claimed faith as their primary coping strategy, but like the other White survivors, tended to rely on multiple coping strategies. The African American survivors conceptualized God as an active member of their support network. Most prayed for healing, and several attributed examples of healing to God's intervention. The White survivors found God's presence in the actions of other people. They prayed for strength, peace, and courage to endure the illness. The use of faith as a coping strategy was the most significant difference between the African American and White breast cancer survivors, but different social support needs were also evident. White survivors readily disclosed the details of their illness and actively sought the assistance of other people. African American women were much less likely to discuss their illness with other persons and expressed a greater inclination to rely on themselves. This study indicates that cancer support groups must be structured to consider cultural coping differences for wider African American usage. Coping research conducted on primarily African American samples is necessary to develop interventions intended to serve African Americans.

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  • May 2005

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  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:10 p.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2013, 12:15 p.m.

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McCoy, Brenda G. "God will get me through": African American women coping with breast cancer and implications for support groups., dissertation, May 2005; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4763/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .