Will My Disclosure Harm the Relationship? Factors that Impact Mother-Daughter Cancer Communication in Taiwan

Wan-Lin Chang 1 *

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp. 171-189

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Since 1982, cancer has been the leading cause of death in Taiwan. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (2020), in 2019 more than a quarter (28.6%) of deaths were caused by cancer, an increase of about 5% from 1999. Family communication can help encourage social and physical support, especially for those who face traumatic, life-changing events, such as receiving a cancer diagnosis. However, people may avoid self-disclosing information about their diseases, treatments, and emotions with their families for different reasons. Between May and July 2014, fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted to explore what factors influence breast cancer mothers’ desire to engage in cancer communication with their daughters. Six themes representing individual factors, relational factors, and cultural factors that influence self-disclosure emerged. These themes were: 1) Cancer stage when the mother was first diagnosed, 2) Mother’s dependency/Daughter’s maturity, 3) Philosophy of “face it, accept it, deal with it, and let it be”, 4) Societal expectations of women’s roles, 5) Religion, and 6) Support group engagement.

Keywords: Breast Cancer, Mother-Daughter Communication, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Daughter Self-Disclosure, Taiwan.