Long-term Effects of Pediatric Cancer on Siblings: A Qualitative Analysis

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Title: Long-term Effects of Pediatric Cancer on Siblings: A Qualitative Analysis
Author: Marasca, Erin K.
Advisors: Ann Schulte, Ph.D., Committee Chair
Abstract: Eleven siblings of pediatric cancer patients between the ages of 15 and 18 and their parents participated in a qualitative study of siblings' long-term adjustment to pediatric cancer. The qualitative design included two methods of data collection from the same informant (i.e., individual interviews and group interview with siblings), and two different informants (i.e., siblings and parents). Siblings and their parents were interviewed separately about (a) how illness-related information was communicated at the time of diagnosis, (b) initial concerns and coping strategies at the time of diagnosis, (c) changes occurring in the family during the initial phases of treatment, (d) other changes that occurred in the siblings' lives during this time, (e) the siblings' current functioning, and (f) areas for intervention and general thoughts regarding the cancer experience as a whole. Greater confidence was placed in findings that were reported by the majority of participants and across data collection methods. In terms of long-term adjustment, content analysis of sibling and parent interviews revealed ongoing fears about the sibling treated for cancer (i.e., relapse, ability to function independently), a continued sense of responsibility for the treated sibling, and residual feelings of guilt relating to their behavior during the patient's treatment, as well as the desire to pursue their own goals. Parents appeared to be largely unaware of the siblings' affect during treatment and currently. Intervention strategies considered helpful by the siblings included an increase in the amount of illness-related information given to them during treatment, as well as more support services, either through individual counseling or support groups.
Date: 2003-07-02
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Psychology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/4061

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