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Siblings' experiences of everyday life in a family where one child is diagnosed with blood cancer : a qualitative study

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Background: Childhood cancer not only presents challenges to the life of the child with cancer but also to the siblings' daily family life. The aim of the current study was to gain a better understanding of siblings' experiences of living in a family where one child has been diagnosed with blood cancer. Method: Ten siblings of children with leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma completed a semistructured interview about their everyday family life experiences postdiagnosis. The verbatim transcripts of the interviews served as the data for an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: The results showed that overall the siblings experienced a continuity in many aspects of their family life: they still experienced their family as an important source of support and information/communication, as warm and loving and as a safe harbor where family members aim to protect each other. However, at the same time, the participating siblings also expressed that some things felt unmistakably different postdiagnosis: They felt that their family as a whole had been ripped apart, with a greater focus on the diagnosed child and changing responsibilities for each family member. Conclusion: This study informs parents and clinicians about the daily family life experiences from the siblings' perspective, a perspective that is often overlooked. A focus on challenges as well as continuities within family life, the wish for connection expressed by the siblings, and the uniqueness of every sibling's experiences is what can be taken away from this study by psychosocial workers in the field.
ISSN: 1532-8457
Issue: 2
Volume: 36
Pages: 131 - 142
Publication year:2019
BOF-publication weight:0.1
CSS-citation score:2
Authors from:Higher Education