The role of social interactions in learning to cope with cancer : an existential sociological study of an online support group forum
Goh, Yi Xiang
Date of Issue2017-03-30
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
To many, cancer is a life-changing crisis that disrupts the flow of many activities, aspirations, plans, and fulfillment of many individuals. Some orthodox existential and psychological findings testify to how being ridden with cancer may lead to stagnation, hopelessness, pessimism, and a disavowal of responsibility towards one's life. However, such findings are contradicted by new findings that suggest that the experience of cancer may lead to adaptation through positive cancer-coping beliefs. Despite this, such new findings involve explanations which are mostly endogenous in nature, examining such growth strictly from the psychological perspective of the individual, while neglecting exogenous factors such as social interactions. In this study, social interactions were found to play a pivotal role on an online cancer support group in facilitating the cancer-coping beliefs of patients from a state of powerlessness and hopelessness upon cancer diagnosis, to a stage of acceptance and embrace of life. To analyse this, various literature in existential sociology and social constructivism have been used to study the exogenous impact of social interactions on the former. Methodologically, the threads and posts of cancer sufferers and survivors on an online cancer support group forum have been studied through qualitative content analysis.