Desire for control over health care in Manitoba women with a first time diagnosis of breast cancer

Thumbnail Image
Neufeld, Kaaren Ruth
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This thesis is a descriptive study which addressed the research question: Is desire for control over health care the voice of a vocal minority or a phenomenon representing the majority of women facing breast cancer? Specifically, do these women desire active behavioral involvement in their health care, and are they seeking information about diagnostic and treatment procedures? The concept of control was conceptualized by incorporating two models of helping and coping described by Brickman and his collegues with four patterns of control over treatment decision making described by Degner, Beaton and Glass. The Krantz Health 0pinion Survey and Desire for Control scales were used to collect the quantitative data. The sample consisted of 43 respondents who were experiencing a first time diagnosis of breast cancer and who were within one year from initial diagnosis. The data were collected from 12 different settings. A high desire for information was reported although this may not necessarily be evident from usual patterns of questioning behavior. Repondents were not preparded to assume responsibility for deciding "what is best" or "what procedures I should have" but most definitely wanted to "have a say" and to "influence" the care received. Joint control based on the assumptions of the compensatory model of helping and coping was the prevalent attitude. There was no support for the hypothesis that young women desire greater control than older women. There was some support for an association between desire for control and extent of disease. Desire for control may be strongly affected by the situational factor of the nature of the illness. The small sample which was atypical of the target population prohibits any generalization of study results. Implications for nursing and further research are discussed.