The illness narratives of Hispanic American women with coronary heart disease (CHD): An ethnographic approach

Kimberly Dawn Cameron, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Purpose. To provide a descriptive representation of the illness narratives described by Hispanic American women with CHD. Design. Focused ethnographic design. Setting. One outpatient general medicine clinic, one nurse-managed health promotion clinic, and informants' homes in a large metropolitan city located in southeast Texas. Sample. Purposeful sampling from two different sites resulted in 17 interviews being conducted with 14 informants. Method. Focused ethnographic techniques were employed in the designation of participants for the study, data collection, analysis and re-presentation. Audiotaped interviews and fieldwork were transcribed verbatim and analyzed through an iterative process of data reduction, data display, drawing conclusions and verification. Findings. The developing conceptual framework that emerged from the data is labeled after the overarching experience described by informants, the experience of Embodied Exhaustion. Embodied Exhaustion, as described in this study, refers to an ongoing, dynamic, indeterminate experience of mind-body exhaustion resulting from a complex constellation of biologic, psychological and social distresses occurring over the life course. The experience consists of three categories: Taking Care of Others, Wearing Down and Hurting Hearts. Two stabilizing forces were identified: Collective Self and Believing in God. Conclusions. The findings of this study emphasize the importance of framing all research, theory and practice targeting Hispanic women with CHD within a sociocentric paradigm. Nursing is challenged to provide care that extends beyond the physical body of the patient to include the social context of illness, especially the family.

Subject Area

Nursing|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Cameron, Kimberly Dawn, "The illness narratives of Hispanic American women with coronary heart disease (CHD): An ethnographic approach" (2000). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9988075.