The Lived Experiences of Fathers Diagnosed With Cancer: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Summer 2020


In the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death. The American Cancer Society (2018) reports that 163 people per 100,000 will die from the disease each year. Cancer mortality is highest among men. Prior research has been limited relating to the impact of men in the fatherhood role. The researcher explored the lived experiences of fathers’ diagnoses with cancer in this study. It aimed to increase greater understanding of the emotional impact of the disease on men and on their fatherhood roles. It finds that the disease of cancer can emotionally shape the identity and relationships of fathers. This study supports the conclusion of Miller-Karas (2015), that cancer diagnosis creates a decline in quality of life and that emotional and psychological struggles are inherently part of the diagnosis. Furthermore, the research highlights the methods employed by fathers to adapt and address these struggles. The methodology of an interpretive phenomenological analysis was utilized to investigate and illuminate themes emerging from the lived experiences of the fathers in this study. This method was used to provide depth and thick textual descriptions of the v experiences and the themes that emerged from individual interviews with fathers diagnosed with cancer. It provides insight into the experiences of a person in a particular context as they make sense of a phenomenon.


Erika L. Schmit

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences