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Heather Heron-Speirs

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2014
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Understanding the cancer-related distress and coping of men from provincial New Zealand: 'Bullet proof' meets radical prostatectomy

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Men may approach the experience of cancer with a range of disadvantages, including less health knowledge and less socialised skill in processing emotional distress. Masculine culture and experience should therefore, be taken into account in the design of interventions to treat men’s cancer-related distress. Ms Heron-Speirs explored the nature of men’s cancer-related distress and coping. She interviewed 6 Maori and 21 Pakeha men with cancer and thematically analysed their reports. Draft distress and coping themes and proposed interventions were then discussed with a subset of the participants (selected from disadvantaged demographic groups). The need for greater control emerged in both the distress and the coping themes. In order to restore a sense of control, Ms Heron-Speirs suggested intervention that features orienting information about the physical and psycho-social effects of the disease and its treatment and the options and processes of treatment.

Professor Christine Stephens
Mr John Waldon
Dr Don Baken