A grounded theory of students' long-distance coping with a family member's cancer

Erin D. Basinger, Erin C. Wehrman, Amy L. Delaney, Kelly G. McAninch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this study, we explore how family members cope with one source of stress - cancer diagnosis and treatment. We suggest that coping away from one's family is characterized by constraints that are not common to proximal coping. We conducted six focus groups with college students (N = 21) at a university in the United States to investigate their long-distance coping experiences and used grounded theory methods to develop a model of college students' long-distance coping. Negotiating the tension between being here (at school) and being there (at home) was central to their experiences. Participants described four manifestations of their negotiation between here and there (i.e., expressing/hiding emotion, longing to care for the patient there/avoiding responsibility here, feeling shock at degeneration there/escaping degeneration by being here, and lacking information from there) and three strategies they used to cope (i.e., being here and withdrawing, being here and doing school, and seeking/not seeking support).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1098
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 21 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015.


  • Cancer
  • communication
  • coping and adaptation
  • families
  • grounded theory
  • psychosocial issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'A grounded theory of students' long-distance coping with a family member's cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this