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Title: The experience of emotional distress and help-seeking for distress in families living with advanced cancer and receiving palliative care : a multi-perspective case study approach
Author: Carolan, Clare
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 4563
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2018
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The emotional impact of serious illness in families is recognised. To enhance well-being in families living we must understand how distress is experienced within families; from this, evidenced-based systemic distress interventions can be derived. However, the success of systemic intervention programmes is reliant on whether families will seek help (or not) for distress. This PhD by publication explores emotional distress and help-seeking in families living with advanced cancer. Papers one and two used systematic review techniques. Paper one evidenced distress as a systemic construct and proposes the tiered model of distress to convey current understandings. Paper two offers the attaining normality model to convey why some people seek help for distress to achieve a new normality whereas some choose not to seek help to maintain normality. Together, these papers evidence gaps in systemic understandings of distress and help-seeking; from this an exploratory cross-sectional multiple case study of families was proposed. Papers three and four provided methodological underpinning to this research through the development of the DESCARTE model: The Design of Case Study Research in Healthcare (paper three) used in the case study design; paper four reflects on multi-perspective interviewing methods used. Distress and help-seeking are conceived as systemic relational phenomena, occurring within the family system and arising from relational interaction with healthcare. Distress is conveyed through four themes: interdependent distress, living in uncertainty, unnecessary distress and oscillatory distress; from this, possible systemic intervention designs are offered (paper five). Non-help-seeking for distress was the predominant response in families. The mutuality model of help-seeking is proposed to synthesise current understandings (paper six). Families describe how healthcare interactions cause unnecessary distress and shapes families’ help-seeking behaviours. Findings indicate significant gaps between the rhetoric of palliative care policy and families’ experience. To improve families’ wellbeing, relational care must be embedded in policy and practice.
Supervisor: Smith, Annetta ; Forbat, Liz Sponsor: University of Stirling
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cancer ; Palliative care ; Distress ; Help-seeking ; Families ; Cancer--Distress (Psychology) ; Cancer--Palliative treatment