Communication ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-9-2017


Inspired by my own mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, in this study, narratives from Hispanic/Latina breast cancer survivors were collected and analyzed using narrative theory, and social cognitive theory.

Even though Hispanic/Latina women are less physiologically prone to develop breast cancer, a significant percentage are still being diagnosed at later stages, with larger tumors, and are dying because of this late diagnosis. As a result, I needed to learn more about women’s journeys through their diagnosis, especially what kind of social support they experienced through those difficult times. For this study, I interviewed fifteen Hispanic/Latina women from different parts of the country – most of them residing in the Southwest part of the United States. I explored the information collected to pinpoint common themes amongst the narratives given in the interviews. Through this examination, I uncovered five prominent themes: support systems; seeking and participating in support groups; unwillingness to seek and participate; culture; and, visions for support groups tailored specifically for Hispanic/Latinas.

With Hispanic/Latino narratives being scarce in academic research, this study contributes to the growing research focus for this population, especially when it comes to understanding women who experienced a breast cancer diagnosis. Its implications serve to create more culturally appropriate support groups specifically designed for Hispanic/Latina women; training for healthcare providers; and, the push for expanding knowledge of preventative measures through a support group setting that can be distributed through storytelling among the women.




Health Communication, Hispanic/Latina Breast Cancer Survivors, Breast Cancer, Social Support, Narrative Analysis, Social Cognitive Theory, Support Groups

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Committee Member (Chair)

Judith McIntosh White, PhD

Second Committee Member

David Weiss, PhD

Third Committee Member

Jaelyn DeMaria, PhD

Fourth Committee Member

Holly Jacobson, PhD

Available for download on Monday, July 31, 2023

Included in

Communication Commons