Skip to main content

Being Open without Talking about It: A Rhetorical/Normative Approach to Understanding Topic Avoidance in Families after a Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Buy Article:

$51.63 plus tax (Refund Policy)


The present study uses a rhetorical/normative perspective to examine families' communication and coping in response to a parent's diagnosis of, and eventual death from, lung cancer. Through in-depth, semistructured interviews with 35 adult children, we identified two broad areas of communicative avoidance (avoiding information and avoiding emotion) and three general ways of managing avoidance and openness (denial, segmentation, and being open while avoiding). The interviews suggested that denial was a particularly dissatisfying means of managing competing goals, whereas being open while avoiding appeared to be functional for family members. The discussion focuses on our understanding of reasons why people avoid in this context, implications for rhetorical/normative approaches and theories of information management, and practical implications of the current findings.

Keywords: Coping; Lung Cancer; Multiple Goals; Normative Approach; Topic Avoidance

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2011


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more
Real Time Web Analytics