A 20 year retrospective qualitative case study was conducted to investigate the relational impact of choriocarcinoma (a type of gestational cancer) on a couple of child-bearing age. A unique feature to the study was that the primary investigator was the couple's biological son, initiating the first known auto-case study design. Using holistic content analysis, investigators learned that anticipatory grief played a central part in the couple's ultimate detachment and divorce. While the wife began to refocus her emotional energies on her children, in psychological preparation for her possible death, the husband focused on ways to keep the family finances together in preparation for life after cancer. He perceived her emotional detachment from him as abandonment. In spite of taking separate paths, the two perceived one another as heroes. The conceptual and clinical implications for a young couple battling gestational cancer are discussed.


Choriocarcinoma, Couple, Cancer, Case study, Holistic Content Analysis, Gestational

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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