To Hope or to Know: Coping with Uncertainty and Ambivalence in Women's Magazine Breast Cancer Articles

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Breast cancer is one of the most feared diseases in contemporary Western society. Popular women's magazines are important sources of information about and orientation to the disease. The current study applies problematic integration theory in an interpretive analysis of all breast cancer articles appearing in five top-circulating women's magazines between 1997 and 2002. In so doing, the study illuminates two major challenges (uncertainty and ambivalence) and several imperfect approaches to coping constructed in this discourse (simplification, information-seeking/provision, affect management, trusting intuition, sustaining hope, and metaphoric reframing). These results have several clear and important practical implications and highlight a major and largely untried direction for future research.
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