A Careful Relationship: A Narrative Study of Family Caregiving Relationships in Cancer Care

Liza Ngenye

Major Professor: Gary L. Kreps, PhD, Department of Communication

Committee Members: Kevin B. Wright, Timothy A. Gibson

Northeast Module, #107
November 30, 2018, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM


The purpose of this study was to provide a complete narrative examination of the unique relationships developed between cancer patients and their familial caregivers during cancer. This study was built upon theoretical triangulation of the Implicit Contracts Model, Expectancies construct from Expectancy Violation Theory, Self-Disclosure construct from Communication Privacy Management Theory, and the Buffering Model of Social Support. Utilizing narrative research methods, critical incident technique, stories were collected from thirty-four of cancer survivors and family member caregivers to document the progression of caregiving relationships in cancer care. This narrative examination informs readers of the nature of caregiving relationships and how families face a variety of communicative challenges and opportunities. This study provides an informatory framework to prepare families, patients and caregivers, maintain effective caregiving relationships throughout cancer care.