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Adaption strategies used by siblings to childhood cancer patients

Objective: Siblings of childhood cancer patients experience social challenges. The results presented in this article are part of a larger qualitative study aiming to generate empirical knowledge about social consequences of childhood cancer from the family's perspective. Methods: Data were collected through interviews, observational studies, and questionnaires. The study included 68 childhood cancer patients, 39 siblings, and 39 parents from a total of 78 families. Grounded theory informed the data analysis. Results: Major life changes caused by childhood cancer entail an emotional hierarchy regarding the accommodation of each family member's need for help. This study identified a dynamic three‐variable, four‐adaption model for adaption strategies among siblings towards their parents, based on the sibling's perspective: (1) receives help without asking; (2) receives help after asking; (3) receives no help despite asking; and (4) receives no help and does not ask. Three variables are elaborative to understand the dynamic in adaption strategies: the patient's prognosis, the course of the disease, and the current situation of the diagnosed child. Even though the adaptions are reported by siblings, both patients and parents are aware of and concerned about the siblings' challenges. Conclusions: These results have implications for practice and have the potential to improve social and health care professionals' awareness and ability to offer support and information needed by the families and the siblings. The knowledge presented in this article should be considered basic health care information in line with other information such as treatment protocols.

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Journal article
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Psycho - Oncology
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