Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Siblings Of Children With Cancer Feel Left Out

Date:
May 25, 2009
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Siblings of cancer victims often feel left out and have nobody to share their grief with. However, the illness may help strengthen the bond between a healthy and a cancer-stricken sibling.

Siblings of cancer victims often feel left out and have nobody to share their grief with. However, the illness may help strengthen the bond between a healthy and a cancer-stricken sibling. This is shown in a doctoral thesis at the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Three hundred Swedish children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every year.

'The illness always brings anxiety and grief to the family. Everybody seems to focus on the ill child, and my thesis is the first large study on how the siblings experience and manage the situation', says Margaretha Nolbris, nurse, who interviewed 35 siblings of children who were being treated/had been treated for or had died of cancer. The interviewed siblings were 8-36 years old.

The siblings reported feeling grief for many reasons, for example because their brother or sister had suffered so much pain or because they wondered why their brother or sister had to become ill. They also felt sad that the ill sibling had lost so much time from his or her childhood or adolescent years.

'But they felt like they had nobody to share these thoughts with. In situations where the thoughts of an ill brother or sister get too difficult, they try to either think positively or not think at all', says Nolbris.

The study also found that the unspoken threat of the illness may strengthen the bond between the siblings, and neither parents nor friends are included in this relationship.

The thesis shows that the siblings experience anticipatory grief related to the risk of losing a close person as soon as the diagnosis has been made. This grief persists throughout the entire course of treatments and follow-up checks.

'Parents and medical personnel should remember to involve siblings as soon as a diagnosis has been made, and then keep them informed and updated about the illness, treatments and the ill child's status. To help siblings work through their thoughts and experiences, they should be offered counselling, both one-on-one and in a group with other people who are in the same situation', says Nolbris.

The siblings whose brother or sister had died of cancer saw the event as very unnatural and said they were not prepared, even if the brother or sister had been very ill. Life often turned into chaos and siblings often had difficulties understanding their own reactions. The grief process could not be controlled and it was sometimes necessary to take a break from grieving by doing something else, such as do a hobby or go to school, work or a party.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Nolbris, M., Hellström, A-L. Siblings' Needs and Issues When a Brother or Sister Dies of Cancer. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 2005; 22 (4): 227 DOI: 10.1177/1043454205274722
  2. Nolbris, M., Enskär, K., Hellström, A-L. Experience of siblings of children treated for cancer. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 2007; 11: 106-112

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Siblings Of Children With Cancer Feel Left Out." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090520140628.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2009, May 25). Siblings Of Children With Cancer Feel Left Out. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090520140628.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Siblings Of Children With Cancer Feel Left Out." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090520140628.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins