Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Finding Meaning Through the Cancer Experience Benefits of Narrative Writing for People Living With Cancer
by Perry, Julie Randels, D.Min., Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, 2019, 218; 27724602
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative narrative writing study demonstrates the benefits of narrative writing forpeople living with cancer. Implemented in an outpatient cancer center, the study involved twentyparticipants who responded to specific writing prompts over a period of several months. Eachparticipant completed a pre- and post-assessment, and responded to four sets of writing prompts.Participants completed these responses at home between their infusion appointments, and thendiscussed their writing with the chaplain researcher during face-to-face sessions following eachperiod of writing. 

The chaplain researcher conducted a qualitative narrative analysis for eachwriting response, citing individual themes and pertinent quotations as well as common themesseen across participants’ entries. In addition, she analyzed these writing entries with attention topositive and negative emotion words, as well as positive, negative, and self-reflective statements.The chaplain researcher designed this project in response to theories put forth byprofessionals in the fields of narrative storytelling, narrative writing, posttraumatic growth,meaning-centered psychotherapy, narrative theology, and spirituality. Major theorists for theproject include Dan McAdams, Arthur Frank, James Pennebaker, Richard Tedeschi, LawrenceCalhoun, Viktor Frankl, and William Breitbart. The writing and research conducted by thesepractitioners in their respective fields provided the theoretical framework for every aspect of thisproject, including the design of the pre- and post-assessment instrument, the writing prompts,and the various forms of narrative analysis.

The data obtained from this study strongly supports the use of narrative writing as atherapeutic practice for people living with cancer. All participants who completed the studydemonstrated personal growth through the process, and all endorsed the writing practice asbeneficial in helping them incorporate their cancer experience into their larger life stories.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor:
Commitee:
School: Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
School Location: United States -- Virginia, US
Source: DAI-A 81/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Theology
Keywords: Stories, Narrative writing, Cancer experience
Publication Number: 27724602
ISBN: 9781392565223
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