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 August 20, 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 August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — New numbers show a decade's worth of changes in the number of kids with disabilities. They suggest mental disabilities are up; physical ones are down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Newsy (Aug. 17, 2014) — New Hampshire's governor declared a state of emergency after more than 40 overdoses of synthetic marijuana in one week throughout the state. 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