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Comparing the meanings of fatigue in individuals with cancer in Thailand and Canada

Pongthavornkamol, Kanaungnit, Olson, Karin, Soparatanapaisarn, Nopadol, Chatchaisucha, Sirirat, Khamkon, Aphorn, Potaros, Darussanee, Kirshbaum, Marilynne and Graffigna, Guendalina (2012). Comparing the meanings of fatigue in individuals with cancer in Thailand and Canada. Cancer Nursing,35(5):E1-E9.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Comparing the meanings of fatigue in individuals with cancer in Thailand and Canada
Author Pongthavornkamol, Kanaungnit
Olson, Karin
Soparatanapaisarn, Nopadol
Chatchaisucha, Sirirat
Khamkon, Aphorn
Potaros, Darussanee
Kirshbaum, Marilynne
Graffigna, Guendalina
Journal Name Cancer Nursing
Publication Date 2012
Volume Number 35
Issue Number 5
eISSN 1538-9804
Start Page E1
End Page E9
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
1110 - Nursing
Abstract Background: Illness is experienced in social contexts; its meaning is rooted in local beliefs and values as well as one’s personal and family situation. Health professionals are steeped in knowledge of disease but know much less about illness.
Objectives: The objective of the study was to learn more about the social construction of illness by comparing the meanings of fatigue in Thai and Canadian individuals with cancer.
Using an ethnoscience design, 10 Thai adults receiving chemotherapy for advanced lung cancer or colorectal cancer were interviewed twice. They were asked to sort words and phrases about fatigue from their first interview using Q-sort, triadic, and dyadic approaches; to name each pile; and to describe the similarities and differences between the piles. The card sorts were used to understand the relationships among key ideas in each interview. A table summarizing the card sorts was constructed, and patterns in the data were identified.
Results: Two segregates in the Thai data were identified: essential/constant and intermittent, with essential/constant including 2 segregates (feeble and altered cognition), and intermittent including 2 segregates (loss of mental strength and difficulty sleeping). The primary meanings of fatigue in the Thai data were related to temporality, whereas the primary meanings of fatigue in the Canadian data were related to the location of the fatigue (mind/body).
Conclusion: These findings help us understand the social construction of fatigue, a common symptom in cancer.
Implications for Practice: Further research in relation to links between fatigue and other related-symptoms is needed with the goal of developing cross-cultural interventions for managing fatigue in the future.
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Created: Tue, 20 Jan 2015, 11:47:58 CST by Marion Farram