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A Cross-Cultural Exploration into Caring for Someone with Cancer: A Qualitative Study in Scotland

School of Health and Social Care

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Ms J Young , Dr Carol Gray Brunton No more applications being accepted

About the Project

Cancer is a multifaceted diagnosis that is bound up in a range of factors that will affect an individual’s lived experience of this disease. For instance, there are over 220 different types of cancer, various forms of treatment and large variations in survival rates. Furthermore, cancer not only impacts the person who is diagnosed but often those close to them too. Spouses, partners, family members and friends also share this experience with the patient but their role has received considerably less focus. Whilst caring can be rewarding, a review of the costs of caring has shown that the role can result in considerable psychological, social, economic and health implications.

Cultural factors affect patients’ and carers perceptions of cancer, expressions of concern and relationships to health care systems. Scholars also argue that culture can have an impact on psychosocial factors such as social support and personal control. Consequently, cultural values are worth emphasizing, yet there is very little research which understands caring experiences from different cultural perspectives. As society is rapidly becoming more culturally diverse there is a pressing need to understand the cultural resources that individual carers may draw upon as they navigate through health and social care systems in order to inform support.

The overarching aim of this project is to conduct a qualitative study to explore the caring responsibilities, experiences and perceptions of family carers of someone with cancer in Scotland. For this project we define a ‘carer’ as someone who supports a family member or a spouse who needs help and support. You will focus on ethnic minority carers to understand how culture impacts on and gives meaning to carer experiences. You may choose to focus on a particular ethnic group or you may wish to explore experiences across ethnic groups. The use of particular analytical methods will depend on your skills and interests and will be determined in discussion with the supervisory team. For example, you may wish to apply a thematic, discursive or narrative approach. You will be supported to explore novel approaches to meeting your study aims. We propose that these findings will emphasize the importance of cultural sensitivity practices and will inform the development of interventions to facilitate support in minority populations.

The supervisory team brings together experts in public health, qualitative health research and croass-cultural health with backgrounds in critical health psychology and cancer care. Ms Young (Research Fellow) and Dr Gray Brunton (Lecturer / Research Psychologist) are both situated in the Population and Public Health Theme in the School of Health and Social Care at Edinburgh Napier University. This project provides a unique opportunity to be the first study to explore family caring within ethnic minority populations in Scotland.

We look forward to hearing from you. Part and full time applicants are welcome.

Funding Notes

Self-funding applicants.


Gray Brunton, C., et al. Int.J. Behav. Med. (2014) Young Women’s
Constructions of the HPV Vaccine: A Cross Cultural, Qualitative Study in
Scotland, Spain, Serbia and Bulgaria. 21: 11.
Licqurish, S., Phillipson, L., Chiang, P., Walker, J., Walter, F., & Emery, J.
(2017). Cancer beliefs in ethnic minority populations: a review and metasynthesis
of qualitative studies. European journal of cancer care, 26(1),
Seymour, J., Payne, S., Chapman, A., & Holloway, M. (2007). Hospice or
home? Expectations of end‐of‐life care among white and Chinese older
people in the UK. Sociology of health & illness, 29(6), 872-890.
Young, J & Snowden A (2017). A systematic review on the factors associated
with positive experiences in carers of someone with cancer. European
Journal of Cancer Care. 26(3)

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