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|Title:||Growing up with cancer: A qualitative study of the impact of cancer on the experience of growing up|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
Sydney Medical School
|Abstract:||Because more young people are surviving cancer than ever before, more young people than ever before are living with the physical, psychological, emotional and social consequences of cancer illness and treatment. They do so during a transitional time of life and much is already known about their experiences of the physical and psychological effects of cancer illness and treatment. Less is known about the social consequences as they are experienced in relationship with other people. This thesis therefore focuses on the social consequences of cancer illness and treatment in young people who have completed their treatment and have returned to their usual social worlds. This thesis has two aims. First, to expand on our current understandings of the experience of young Australians with cancer by focussing on the period of remission and recovery. Second, to determine how young Australians conduct social inte ractions in light of their cancer experience. The thesis will address these aims by answering the research question: “what is the impact of cancer illness and treatment on the experience of growing up?” Methodology and Methods A quota sampling strategy ensured we recruited a balanced sample of women and men and of young people from different diagnostic categories. Participants ranged in age from 16 to 29 years old at the time of their first interview. They ranged from 10 to 22 years old at the time of their diagnosis. I conducted a thematic analysis of 49 interviews collected from 27 participants guided by the theoretical perspective of Symbolic Interactionism. Findings At the time of their cancer illness and treatment, participants became dependent on their families for care. During their period of remission and recovery, older participants sought to regain the independence they had lost or given up during thei r period of illness and treatment while maintaining the! intimac y they had developed with their parents. When treatment allowed, participants re-entered their usual social worlds where they experienced heightened levels of attention from their peers. Participants welcomed some forms of attention while resisting others as they undertook a process of accommodating their cancer experience into their post-cancer sense of self. As their social worlds expanded, participants met new acquaintances and formed new relationships. Participants underwent a difficult process of deciding how to disclose their cancer history to their new acquaintances and of negotiating the place of “cancer” in their new relationships. Discussion The impact of cancer on the process of growing up is evident in relationships with parents, peers, and new acquaintances. However, the impact is different for young people in early adolescence, mid-adolescence, late adolescence, and young adulthood. The diff erence reflects the normal changes in focus on different relationships during these phases of life. In childhood and early adolescence, the focus is on relationships with parents. In middle adolescence the focus shifts to relationships with peers. In late adolescence and young adulthood, the focus shifts to the young person‟s independence and relationships of a romantic and/or sexual nature. Conclusion Findings from this study have practical implications for young people who have had cancer, their parents, peers, and new romantic and/or sexual partners. The challenge for these groups is to accommodate the ongoing effects of cancer illness and treatment into their relationships while young people continue the process of growing up.|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis. It may only be used for the purposes of research and study. It must not be used for any other purposes and may not be transmitted or shared with others without prior permission.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Type of Publication:||Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D.|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
Research Papers and Publications. VELiM
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