This phenomenological study explored how cancer impacted female patients or survivors while striving for personal work-life balance. Since female cancer patients and survivors encounter unique stressors, challenges, and experiences related to their cancer journey, this study examined the narratives of 10 women identified as having cancer and a comparison group matched on age via random sample for the birth year. The 20 narratives were a subset of the larger Weber (2011) sample collected by Digital Women's Project research team. The foundational theoretical framework is provided by Giele's (2008) life story method, which analyzed narratives through the lenses of identity, relationship style, drive and motivation, and adaptive styles of women. However, this study focused on the following two themes: drive and motivation and adaptive style. The personal experiences of the ten diverse women, who received a cancer diagnosis (Group A), described ways that cancer changed their lives. The comparative sample of women without cancer diagnoses (Group B) were also analyzed along these themes. The findings reveal the differences between Group A and B with their outlook, lifestyles, and how work-life balance was navigated. Successful strategies of navigating work-life balance for the two groups were explored: faith, support systems, healthy lifestyle, resources, therapy, and hobbies.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Cancer -- Patients; Work-life balance; Cancer in women

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Weber, Margaret J.;