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Title: Exploring the experiences of healthy siblings and parents when a child is diagnosed and treated for cancer
Author: Gibbins, Jonathan Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 6279
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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The diagnosis of childhood cancer is recognised as a significant stressor for families. There is a growing body of research exploring the experiences of parents and healthy siblings during the treatment of childhood cancer. The first paper is a systematic review of 28 qualitative studies that explored the experiences of mothers and fathers from different countries and cultures. Key findings included the desire to feel in control, the need to continuously adjust, various coping styles were adopted, emotional and practical support was valued, and gender and cultural differences were reported. Clinical implications include the need to provide clear information and aid the sense of control, care needs to be individualised, and fathers' needs should be acknowledged and met. The second paper aimed to address some of the gaps in the literature on healthy siblings, as few studies have explored the experiences of adolescent healthy siblings. A qualitative study was carried out using grounded theory to explore adolescent healthy siblings' experiences across the duration of treatment for childhood cancer. A semi-structured retrospective interview was completed with eight participants. A grounded theory model was developed, which illustrates how the healthy siblings' experience changed over time, with the most challenging period being the diagnosis and initial phase of treatment. Their experiences appeared to depend on a number of factors including: how they managed the stressors; temperament; family relationships; individual coping strategies; and support received. Developmental changes associated with adolescence appeared to further serve as a potential protective factor. Clinical implications include health care professionals needing to ensure healthy siblings have appropriate support in place and the required coping skills to reduce the chance of psychosocial problems developing. There is a particular need for early support, as healthy siblings are likely to particularly struggle between the diagnosis and initial treatment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available