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Communication in families with minor children following the loss of a parent to cancer.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC. Capio Palliativ vård Dalen.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC. Karolinska institutet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8185-781X
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC. Uppsala universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5523-8126
2019 (English)In: European Journal of Oncology Nursing, ISSN 1462-3889, E-ISSN 1532-2122, Vol. 39, p. 41-46, article id S1462-3889(19)30005-5Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE: Family communication is a known protective factor for minor children's psychological health following the death of a parent, but there is little research describing communication within such families specifically from the perspective of the children. The purpose of this study was therefore to explore communication in parentally bereaved families from the perspective of the children and surviving parent.

METHODS: Interviews with four parents and four children from four families were analyzed using inductive content analysis. Interviews took place in the family's home or at the research center based on the family's wishes 4-14 months after a parent had died. Interviews had an open approach and were based on an interview guide. Each interview was between 60 and 120 min long.

RESULTS: Four categories emerged which were related to family members' experiences of family communication while adjusting to their new circumstances as bereaved: the importance of open and honest communication in the family; new challenges in the family which affect communication; communicating the need for help; and talking about and remembering the deceased parent.

CONCLUSIONS: This study illuminates the connection between family communication and adjustments to new circumstances following the death of a parent. The results suggest that the relationship between family adjustment and communication may be circular whereby the family's ability to adjust to their new circumstances is affected by how the family communicates. Similarly, family communication may be affected by the family's coping strategies and ability to adjust to their new circumstances.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 39, p. 41-46, article id S1462-3889(19)30005-5
Keywords [en]
Bereavement; Family communication; Parental death
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-7358DOI: 10.1016/j.ejon.2019.01.005PubMedID: 30850137OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-7358DiVA, id: diva2:1296082
Available from: 2019-03-13 Created: 2019-03-13 Last updated: 2020-01-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Development and Evaluation of the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention for Parentally Bereaved Families in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development and Evaluation of the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention for Parentally Bereaved Families in Sweden
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Each year in Sweden, approximately 6,900 children will have a parent diagnosed with cancer. Of all the children in Sweden born between 1990–1992, 5.6% have a parent with cancer and 1.1% of them have already had a parent die from cancer. Bereavement support is an important component in palliative care, which aims to alleviate the physical, psychological, and spiritual suffering of patients and their family members. Several, but not all families participating in the studies in this thesis came from a palliative care setting. Earlier research has shown that parentally bereaved children often experience psychological problems, physical problems, reduced self-esteem, difficulties communicating,school and behavioral problems, and/or complicated grief, with approximately 10% of parentally bereaved children experiencing some type of clinically significant psychological difficulty. Moreover, a child’s response to a parent’s death is often mediated by how their surviving parent responds to the loss. Still, support for bereaved children and families is limited in Sweden. The overall aim of this research project was to explore and describe psychological health, grief, and family communication among parentally bereaved children and surviving parents and to develop and evaluate a supportive family intervention. Four studies were conducted including an interview study exploring family communication in parentally bereaved families, a questionnaire study examining associations between family communication and psychological health in parentally bereaved children and adolescents, and the adaptation and evaluation of the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention. Results from these four studies indicated that communication may be an important factor for adjustment following the death of a parent. Specifically, communication in some parentally bereaved families may involve conflict, which may in turn affect child and adolescent psychological health. Results from testing the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention indicate that it may improve family communication and relationships. Testing the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention with larger, more diverse samples is necessary to confirm these results. The results imply that helping families find ways to adjust and adapt in healthy ways following the death of a parent, potentially through the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention, is likely to improve psychological health and communication among bereaved family members.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Ersta Sköndal Bräcke högskola, 2020. p. 107
Series
Avhandlingsserie inom området Människan i välfärdssamhället, ISSN 2003-3699 ; 2
Keywords
Children, Parental Bereavement, Family Communication, Psychological Health
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
The Individual in the Welfare Society, Palliative Care
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-7956 (URN)978-91-985808-0-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-02-21, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-01-28 Created: 2020-01-22 Last updated: 2020-01-29Bibliographically approved

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