A foot in two worlds': Young women and identity construction in the context of cancer
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science
Despite a large number of women being diagnosed with cancer in Australia annually, limited research, addresses the issue of young, women and identity construction in the context of living with cancer. This research adopted a qualitative research paradigm using semi-structured interviews and a multiple case research approach to explore this issue. Four young women aged 20-28 years were involved in multiple interviews (two participants in three interviews and the remaining two participants in two interviews), with each lasting approximately one hour. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data analysis facilitated through the use of constant comparison. Findings suggest that the young women in our study had a ‘foot in two worlds’ – a medical world dominated by the treatment and management of their illness and a non-medical world where struggles to maintain their pre-diagnosis identity and incorporate a post-diagnosis identity were played out. Despite the reality of their illness with its physical and emotional ramifications, the young women in our study were unwilling to accept an identity compromised by cancer.