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The experience of powerlessness: a portfolio of work incorporating an empirical research study on parents’ experience of their child being diagnosed with cancer

Dhillon, R. (2018). The experience of powerlessness: a portfolio of work incorporating an empirical research study on parents’ experience of their child being diagnosed with cancer. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

Although the survival rates for children with cancer have improved significantly due to biomedicine advancements, the illness nonetheless is devastating and presents significant challenges for parents. Given that parents have an important role in their child’s well-being, it is necessary that we develop an understanding of their experiences to better support them. For this purpose, the aim of the current study was to explicate the parents’ lived experiences of their child being diagnosed with cancer. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight parents attending a UK oncology unit within the National Health Service. The empirical data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four superordinate themes emerged from the data: “Sense-making”, “Powerless”, “Relationship with Others”, and “A Process of Transformation”. The findings revealed how parents strove to find purpose and made sense of their shock of the diagnosis. It also appeared that parents felt a loss of control over their child’s condition that impacted their lifestyle. Despite their struggles, participants reported on their need to appear strong and resilient to facilitate their child’s coping. Parents conveyed the ways in which their relationships with others, both with the healthcare professional and their social network, affected their experiences of having a child with cancer. The findings indicate how parents seek to re-evaluate their values in life, reconsider future relationships and observe the significant changes to their child during their treatment. The findings are considered in relation to existing literature and discuss implication for clinical practice, as well as the limitations and recommendations for future research.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20387
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