Ethnicity and cultural models of recovery from breast cancer

Jeannine Coreil, Jaime A. Corvin, Rebecca Nupp, Karen Dyer, Charlotte Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective. Recovery narratives describe the culturally shared understandings about the ideal or desirable way to recover from an illness experience. This paper examines ethnic differences in recovery narratives among women participating in breast cancer support groups in Central Florida, USA. It compares groups serving African-American, Latina, and European American women, with the objective of better understanding the appeal of ethnic-specific illness support groups for culturally diverse populations. Design. A mixed-method study design combined qualitative and quantitative measures, including in-depth interviews, participant observation at support group meetings, collection of printed documents, and a structured survey. Results. Core elements of the recovery narrative drew from the dominant societal cancer discourse of optimism and personal transformation through adversity; however, important ethnic differences were evident in the meaning assigned to these themes. Groups gave distinctive salience to themes of faith and spirituality, empowerment through the migration experience, and becoming a better person through the journey of recovery. Conclusion. The findings suggest that ethnic cancer support groups draw upon dominant societal discourses about cancer, but they espouse distinctive recovery narratives that are consonant with the groups cultural models of illness. Similarity between ethnic members individual recovery narratives and that of the group may contribute to the appeal of ethnic illness support groups for culturally diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-307
Number of pages17
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • African-American
  • breast cancer
  • ethnicity
  • European American
  • Latina
  • recovery narrative


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethnicity and cultural models of recovery from breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this