Understanding beliefs and meanings in the experience of cancer: a concept analysis
Although the concepts of belief and meaning are commonly used in the cancer literature, there is often an overlap in the use of the terms. Some consider the two terms as synonyms while others link them as successive elements in adjustment. Using an adaptation of the methods of concept analysis, this article differentiates belief and meaning, and also suggests that meaning exists at two levels. The defining attributes and antecedents of these closely related concepts are identified and a model case illustrating each is presented. Clarity in the conceptual definitions of beliefs and meanings can help researchers select measures that accurately reflect the phenomenon of interest. Similarly, differentiation between the concepts can help practitioners in planning focused interventions that explore clients’ existing beliefs and situational and existential meanings.