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J Appl Commun Res. 2009 Nov 1;37(4):397-417.

Naming and Claiming Cancer among African American Women: An Application of Problematic Integration Theory.

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  • 1Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Kentucky.


This study examines how a sample of African American women understands the uncertainties fundamental to cancer risk communication. Utilizing data from four focus groups, Problematic Integration (PI) theory is applied as an interpretive lens for illustrating their felt difficulties of talking openly about cancer and breast cancer in everyday life. The women describe worry about cancer and its prevalence among African American women; ambivalence and uncertainty; belief that what is not uncertain is certain and awful; fear and avoidance; contradictions in "claiming" and "rebuking" cancer; and hopefulness.

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