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In My House Are Many Rooms: A Proposed Model to Examine Self-Concept

June Eilers
Twilla Westercamp
CJON 2003, 7(1), 79-83 DOI: 10.1188/03.CJON.79-83

We are sharing a model that we have used to increase our understanding of the impact of cancer on individuals and families and to assist us as we work with these individuals to live with the challenges they encounter. This article is not a synthesis of the research conducted in the area of self-concept or the literature currently published. It does integrate research, theory, and practice experience to enhance understanding of cancer-related changes in self-concept. The origin of our use of the proposed model dates back to the mid-1970s, when we were involved in “Make Today Count,” a support group for individuals encountering life-threatening illness. Most of the individuals we had the privilege of working with were dealing with cancer; the impact of their cancer molded our thinking, but our real-life encounter with stroke taught us firsthand that the model has wider applications. In fact, it was our personal experience with the changes associated with stroke during those earlier days that motivated us to pursue the use of such a model. At this time, the model will be presented within the context of cancer and its treatment. However, the model’s application or use with individuals experiencing other health-related problems should be apparent. In fact, nurses working in medical-surgical practice arenas who see not only patients with cancer, but also patients with a wide variety of diagnoses, will be able to generalize much of the model to other situations.

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