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Title: Towards hope, normality and achievement : how parents cope with childhood cancer
Author: Smith, Jean M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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This is a qualitative case study on how parents cope when their child has cancer, which is still a life-threatening illness despite the considerable medical advances made in recent years. 19 parents were interviewed in depth during the course of their child's treatment. Their perceptions of their experiences are reported in detail and analysed in terms of themes, which illustrate the activities, the stresses and the conflicts that coping involves. The findings indicate that coping involves parents in redefining a normality in their lives, remaining hopeful throughout the illness, negotiating social support for themselves and meeting their care responsibilities to the child. These findings support many observations from practice and research, confirming that the child's illness has a traumatic and disruptive effect on the whole family. Support for the findings also came from a survey of the views of 120 oncology social workers in the UK and USA about coping, which was conducted separately. The findings are examined in relation to different theoretical perspectives, notably Lazarus and Folkman's model of "coping theory", which envisages coping as an interactional process. Their model, together with psychoanalytically based theory, was used to understand the personal changes that parents reported as having experienced during their child's illness. Some characteristics of coping are discussed, and the implications for policy, practice and for the direction of future research are proposed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available