Adolescents' Responses to Having a Mother with Cancer

by Grabiak, Beth Rene

Abstract (Summary)
Introduction: Each year potentially 1:270 children in the US are affected by the diagnosis of cancer in their mother. The diagnosis of cancer in a woman may cause changes in her behavior, emotions, and physical and family functioning (Lewis, 1996). In turn, these changes may impact her adolescents behavior, school performance, emotions, and physical functioning (Visser et al., 2004). Purpose: The purpose of this study was to elicit and understand the adolescents experience of having a mother with early stage cancer, the meaning that adolescents construct about having a mother with early stage cancer, and the processes that adolescents use in coping with having a mother with early stage cancer. Methods: This qualitative study used a grounded theory method to guide the exploration of the experience of male and female adolescents, ages 12-17 years, whose mother had been diagnosed with early stage cancer a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years ago. Each early stage cancer had a 5-year relative survival rate of 80% or greater. Adolescents responses were elicited by a semi-structured interview guide. Findings: Adolescents experienced a process after their mother was diagnosed with cancer. After they learned the diagnosis, the process became cyclical and at times simultaneous, as cancer changed the family, the adolescents coped, and demonstrated a sense of purpose. Conclusions: Having a mother with cancer is a significant life changing event for adolescents.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Kathryn R. Puskar, DrPH, RN, FAAN; Judith A. Erlen, PhD, RN, FAAN; Janet Stewart, PhD, RN; Carl I. Fertman, PhD

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:12/18/2008

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.