Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/7087
Title: Realities of Living with a Life-threatening Illness: An Analysis of the Influences of Discourse on Illness Experience and Imagined Futures
Contributor(s): Fulton, Graham John (author); Minichiello, Victor (supervisor); Waite, Helen (supervisor)
Publication Date: 1999
Degree Conferred by: 1999
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/7087
Abstract: Anticipatory grief is routinely accept within the grief literature as an integral component of the process of facing an impending loss. It is widely assumed that the experience of anticipatory grief is a positive adaptive response to expected loss. However, previous research has resulted in the accumulation of inconsistent information about whether the effects of anticipatory grief are be adaptive or emotionally harmful. However, a critique of the literature reveals that anticipatory grief is socially constructed and not a phenomenon intrinsic to the process of confronting an impending loss. This thesis uses symbolic interactionism to examine how individuals respond to the experience of living with the life-threatening illnesses of cancer and HIV/AIDS, how they constructed imagined futures and how they respond to these ideations. The study reveals that although individuals are influenced, initially, by the common sense and medical discourses associated with these diseases, neither discourse reflects their actual experiences.In discussing their experiences individuals provide symbols indicating that their subjective reality differs from the dominant discourses. If these symbols are acknowledged and a non judgmental environment provided, individuals disclose how they make meaning of their experiences via an experiential discourse. This discourse is marginalised by both the common sense and medical discourses. When constructing imagined futures individuals focus on a range of issues related to the progression of the disease, how they will cope, the event of death, how it might occur and expectations after death. Individuals respond to these imagined scenarios with fear and anxiety.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 1998 - Graham John Fulton
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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