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Title: The role of art-making in identity maintenance: Case studies of people living with cancer
Authors: Reynolds, F
Prior, S
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Blackwell
Citation: European Journal of Cancer Care. 15, 333-341
Abstract: The aim of this qualitative research was to understand why some people with cancer take up art as a leisure activity, and how visual art-making in daily life might support identity maintenance/ reconstruction. The study forms part of a larger project with people who view art-making as a resource for living with chronic illness. In order to provide a detailed, holistic analysis, the paper focuses on the accounts and artwork of three participants, two women (aged 47 and 59) each with breast cancer, and a man (aged 51) with stomach and lung cancer. The participants turned to art after a process of reflection but did not necessarily reject their pre-illness lifestyles or selves. Rather, art-making afforded many opportunities to retain familiar personal and social identities, and to resist being dominated by labels related to their illness. A practical implication is that people coping with cancer may need not only cognitive and emotional support, but opportunities to find meaningful activities. Such activities can be understood to have a powerful role in maintaining a familiar, positive identity in cancer, and providing a resource for coping.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers

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