A mixed methods investigation of the experience of being diagnosed with a brain tumour


  • A. Trejnowska
  • C. McVittie
  • R. Rush
  • M. Ellison
  • K. Goodall


Background: Adjustment to a diagnosis of brain tumour poses unique challenges across physical, psychological, social and existential domains. The aim of the current research is to understand the role of social support and adult attachment style in mental adjustment to the illness. Furthermore, the study aims to explore how adults with a brain tumour diagnosis and their caregivers make sense of their experiences. Methods: Adults diagnosed with a primary brain tumour will be recruited via charitable organisations and asked to complete a self-report survey online. Questionnaires include Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised measuring attachment style; Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale; and Modified Medical Outcomes Study - Social Support Scale. Data will be analysed using regression analysis. It is expected that 150-200 participants will be recruited. As a follow-up study, 8-12 individuals diagnosed will participate in semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Separately, interviews will be conducted with 8-12 informal caregivers of brain tumour patients. Verbatim transcripts of interviews from both stages of qualitative study will be analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Expected results: Results will provide insight into the relative contribution of adult attachment style and perceived social support in explaining the variance in adjustment outcomes. Analysis of qualitative data from patient and caregiver perspectives will contextualise and deepen understanding of those issues and shifts in relationship dynamics. Current stage of work: Data is being currently collected. Discussion: Current study will be of value to those offering supportive care to brain tumour patients and their caregivers, to help promote positive adjustment process.





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