Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. Allison Scott Gordon


Though fibroadenomas are clinically benign in most cases, clinical research suggests that these lesions can cause diagnosis-related physical health complications and psychological distress. However, this research is limited and should be investigated further. Thus, this study aimed to explore how patients appraise their fibroadenoma diagnosis uncertainty. Additionally, this study sought to determine if a correlation existed between appraisal and decision making as well as identify the factors that influence the most common treatment decision: removal. Data was retrieved from Reddit discussions for a content analysis. These discussions were then qualitatively analyzed using codebooks associated with this study’s research questions. Findings revealed that 1) most patients negatively appraise their diagnosis, 2) no current correlation exists between appraisal and removal, and 3) several factors, both present and not present in the existing literature, influence removal. The conceptual and practical implications of these findings are discussed. Moreover, this study’s findings may assist providers and patients in managing patients’ uncertainty regarding their diagnosis. Further, they may help to improve patients’ treatment decision-making in light of their diagnosis uncertainty. Limitations and future directions as they relate to these findings are elaborated on.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)