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"My Bus Is Here": A Phenomenological Exploration of "Living-With-Dying"

Willig, C. (2015). "My Bus Is Here": A Phenomenological Exploration of "Living-With-Dying". Health Psychology, 34(4), pp. 417-425. doi: 10.1037/hea0000176


OBJECTIVES: This article has 2 aims. The first is to demonstrate how the application of an innovative qualitative methodology generated novel insights into the experience of living with advanced cancer. The article’s second aim is to challenge the idea that the identification of shared themes provides the researcher with access to the meaning and significance of the experience of “living-with-dying.”

METHOD: The research used object elicitation together with existentially informed hermeneutic phenomenological analysis. The analysis is based on 10 semistructured interviews with people who are living with advanced cancer.

RESULTS: Three brief case studies demonstrate the variability in accounts that characterizes the data set as a whole. This is followed by reflections on the way in which, despite striking individual differences, all participants seemed to experience living-with-dying as an existential challenge that demands that the individual concerned finds a way of coming to terms with the very parameters of human existence.

CONCLUSION: A thoroughly idiographic approach that advocates staying with the diversity that characterizes the experience of living with advanced cancer. It is argued that to make sense of the remarkable differences between the research participants’ accounts of their experiences of living with a diagnosis of advanced cancer, a focus on process (i.e., What happens when people encounter their mortality?) and meaning (i.e., What does it mean to them?) helps us to understand these as different responses to the challenge of death awareness.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publisher Keywords: living-with-dying; advanced cancer; hermeneutic phenomenological analysis; object elicitation method; idiographic approach
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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