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A Test of the Self-Help Model and Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among Hispanic Women During Treatment for Breast Cancer

Barbara Owens
ONF 2007, 34(4), E42-E50 DOI: 10.1188/07.ONF.E42-E50

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the relationships in Braden's Self-Help Model of side-effect burden to uncertainty, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), self-care, and quality of life (QOL) in Hispanic women during breast cancer treatment.

Design: Descriptive, correlational; convenience sample; cross-sectional design.

Setting: An outpatient oncology clinic in a public setting of a metropolitan community in southern Texas.

Sample: 137 Hispanic women receiving or completing treatment for breast cancer.

Methods: Participants completed a comprehensive set of instruments. Analyses included a correlation of variables and multiple regressions to examine variables for potential theoretical relationships.

Main Research Variables: CAM use, uncertainty, and enabling skills.

Findings: CAM use as a resource to reduce uncertainty for Hispanic women during breast cancer treatment was not supported. As a type of self-care, CAM was minimally effective in improving QOL. The greater the side-effect burden that Hispanic women experienced, the more uncertainty and depression and lower QOL scores were found. In contrast, women who were involved in CAM self-care had higher QOL scores.

Conclusions: The study results provide valuable information about understanding CAM's role during breast cancer therapy among Hispanic women. The model-testing findings indicated strong support for a predicted pattern in Braden's Self-Help Model with a slight trend for CAM as a special type of self-care.

Implications for Nursing: The findings further inform the concept development of CAM and model building. Additional research with a longitudinal design is needed to understand how CAM is used throughout the breast cancer treatment trajectory and will contribute to knowledge guiding nurses in facilitating self-care interventions for Hispanic women.

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