A model of empowerment for Hong Kong Chinese cancer patients and the role of self-help groups in the empowering process

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

A model of empowerment for Hong Kong Chinese cancer patients and the role of self-help groups in the empowering process


Author: Mok Suen, Suk-bing Esther
Title: A model of empowerment for Hong Kong Chinese cancer patients and the role of self-help groups in the empowering process
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 1998
Subject: Cancer -- Patients -- China -- Hong Kong
Self-help groups -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Nursing and Health Sciences
Pages: ix, 329 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1446568
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/909
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to conceptualize and construct an empowerment instrument, and to apply the model of empowerment in cancer patients in Hong Kong. The research approach combines in-depth interviews, participant-observation and measurement development to capture the empowering aspects of the illness experience in a form which lends itself to quantitative analysis, without excessive loss of the phenomenological meaning of that experience. A model of empowerment for Hong Kong Chinese cancer patients at a personal level was developed to guide nursing interventions for the Hong Kong Chinese cancer patients. Empowerment issues are relevant to people diagnosed with cancer because of the numerous ways in which they come to lose control. As a construct, personal empowerment includes both intrapersonal (feeling competent and in control) and social (activism) levels. However due to the abstract nature of the concept empowerment and the limited theoretical operationalization of the construct, empirical studies in the area are limited. Application of the concept in cancer patients in a Chinese context has not been attempted before. This thesis seeks to address this gap by engaging three phases of the study. The first phase aimed to understand the concept of empowerment from the patients' perspective, an in-depth interviews and participant observation were undertaken to describe the process of empowerment as it pertains to twelve cancer patients. The unique findings of the study suggested that the attributes of empowerment can be described as a motivational process, a relational process, a process of acquiring skills and knowledge and a process of transformation of thought. The different processes of empowerment were intertwined. The analysis of the empowering process requires attention to the interacting effects of both cultural beliefs and situational factors, for example, the controllability of the event. Four main outcome indicators of empowerment were identified from the qualitative study, and they consisted of meaning in life, confidence, skills and knowledge and flexible optimism. The characteristics of the empowering process of assisted self-help groups were explored in depth and it was found that perceived similarities, role modeling, social support and helper therapy principle were important mechanism in the empowerment process. In the second phase of the study, an empowerment questionnaire of 33 items was constructed. These items were formulated through content analysis of the verbalizations from the first phase of the qualitative study. The revised questionnaire was developed through factor analysis of the responses of one hundred and two cancer patients. The analysis yielded six interpretable factors instead of four: acceptance of illness, confidence, skills and knowledge, hope, acceptance of illness and flexible optimism. The last phase of the study examined the empowering role of the self-help groups by applying the empowerment model. It was found that there was a statistically significant difference between the members and non-members in their sense of empowerment as measured by the empowerment questionnaire. The self-help group was significant in contributing towards empowerment of cancer patients. Implications of the results are discussed as are research limitations and directions for future research.

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