Changes of narrative meaning-making markers during the different phases of breast cancer treatment for women below 50 years old
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University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Ital
Clinical Psychology Unit, National Cancer Institute “Fondazione G. Pascale”, Naples, Italy
Breast Surgery, National Cancer Institute “Fondazione G. Pascale”, Naples, Italy
Submission date: 2021-03-11
Final revision date: 2021-03-16
Acceptance date: 2021-03-17
Online publication date: 2021-04-13
Publication date: 2021-04-13
Health Psychology Report 2022;10(1):58–67
The onset of breast cancer is considered a potential traumatic event associated with physical and psychological effects, in particular when it occurs at the age below 50. The literature lacks a longitudinal narrative exploration of breast cancer experience of young women.

Participants and procedure:
Using the narrative device as a diachronic tool aimed at promoting semiotic connection processes during the different phases of the therapeutic path, the authors constructed an ad hoc narrative interview to explore the meaning-making processes of 10 breast cancer patients below 50 years old during three turning-point phases: pre-hospitalization (T1); postoperative counseling (T2); and adjuvant therapy (T3). The research took place at National Cancer Institute Pascale of Naples. Through an ad hoc qualitative methodology, this study identifies the prevailing modes with which the five narrative meaning-making functions are articulated in the repeated narrative during the three phases.

The findings capture the patterns of change of narrative meaning-making markers during the illness experience, highlighting both integrated modes of connections between aspects of experience over time and moments of block in specific critical phases for women under 50.

From a clinical health psychology point of view the results suggest the promotion of integration between the synchrony of the medical path and the diachrony of the subjective experience of women to support resources for adapting to experience.

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