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A systematic review of qualitative studies exploring the experience of parents whose child is diagnosed and treated for cancer

Journal title
Journal of pediatric oncology nursing : official journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses
Publication year
Gibbins, J.; Steinhardt, K.; Beinart, H.

A growing body of research has investigated the experiences of parents of children treated for cancer. Until recently, a qualitative review has not been possible because of the lack of qualitative studies in this area. However, this has changed in recent years. The purpose of this systematic review is to summarize the findings from qualitative studies on the experiences of mothers and fathers from different countries and cultures. Twenty-eight qualitative studies were found to meet the inclusion criteria for this review. Key findings included the parents’ desire to feel in control, the need to continuously adjust to the unpredictable nature of cancer treatment, the adoption of various coping styles, emotional and practical support being valued, and gender and cultural differences being reported. Clinical implications include the need for health care professionals to provide clear information and aid the sense of control, care to be individualized with gender and cultural backgrounds taken into account, and fathers’ needs to be acknowledged and met. Other implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed.

Research abstracts