The art of bouncing back: Patient perspective on cancer rehabilitation

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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Momentary contentment theory is a grounded theory explaining how to find safety and balance in life despite an awareness of life´s unpredictability. The theory is based on communion with others, proactivity and acceptance. It explains cognitive and emotional ways of finding a sense of safety and enjoyment despite illness and accidents. Three concepts are central to Momentary contentment theory: doing safety, destiny readiness and middle consciousness.

In this thesis, I look at the lives of cancer patients through an explanatory model from Momentary contentment theory. I also examine whether Momentary contentment theory can help find a way to feeling safe in a cancer context. 20 narrative unstructured interviews were conducted with 19 cancer patients and 17 relatives. Methodologically I have used design thinking and classic grounded theory in an abductive process. I have used my own experiences as a relative and as a patient and used the intuition and empathy that has been built up through those experiences as inspiration.

Patients struggle to be believed before a diagnosis. Then they have to deal with physical symptoms and fear of death during treatment. For those who survive, a life remains with the late effects of cancer and its treatments as well as living with the worry of relapse. Relatives struggle to keep their everyday lives going, where in several cases they take on different roles in their attempts to create a safety net to protect the patient against both the various effects of the disease and the mistakes of healthcare.

Through activity, an acceptance of life's unpredictability and by focusing on everyday life, one can create increased security and contentment in the moment. The "moment" is seen as clusters of moments, defined as longer or shorter periods of time. By referring to the moment as a subjective experience, which does not follow the timetable and which differs between different situations for different people, life and one's own demands can be better adapted to illness. Momentary contentment theory can serve as an alternative approach to cancer rehabilitation, it explains and illustrates how activity, participation and acceptance can be means of learning to adapt to new living conditions. A way to bounce back during the fluctuations of a life with cancer illness.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Innovation Engineering
  • Nilsson, Fredrik, Supervisor
  • Harrysson, Lars, Assistant supervisor
  • Thulesius, Hans, Assistant supervisor
Award date2021 Oct 29
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-8039-035-4
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-8039-036-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 5

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2021-10-29
Time: 13:00
Place: Lecture hall Stora hörsalen, Ingvar Kamprad Designcentrum IKDC, Sölvegatan 26, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund University, Lund. Youtube:
External reviewer(s)
Name: Denvall, Verner
Title: Senior Prof.
Affiliation: School of Social work, Lund.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Engineering and Technology
  • Nursing


  • Health behaviour
  • cancer patient
  • patient perspective
  • Rehabilitation


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