Parenting a child with cancer: positive psychology and coping
Chasle, Laura Fay
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2008 Laura Fay Chasle. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
This portfolio has three parts. Part one comprises a systematic literature review, in which the empirical literature relating to coping of parents of children with cancer is reviewed. Twelve studies were included in the review and from these studies, the coping strategies that parents rated as most useful or most frequently used were synthesised into a bi-dimensional taxonomy of coping. Due to the many and varied measures and conceptualisations of coping the dimensions of approach-avoidance coping and emotion-focused and problem-focused coping were used to organise results into a more coherent and meaningful structure. The reviewed papers were also quality checked and the outcome of the checklist was taken into consideration when outlining results of eachstudy.Part two comprises a qualitative study, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology to explore the experiences of parents of children who have been diagnosed with cancer in the previous five years. IPA as a methodology is primarily concerned with the participant’s lived experience of an event. There is an assumption that a person makes sense of their experience through the process of interpretation. Through semi-structured interviews with participants, their interpretations of their experiences were collected. The researcher, through the process of analysis, interprets the participant’s own interpretation; this is known as a ‘double-hermeneutic’. Different levels of analysis of transcripts leads to drawing out of a number of themes from across participants. In this study, positive psychology literature was used as a theoretical guide to focus interviews. Positive psychology is concerned with the study of positive emotions or characteristics, positive relationships and positive organisations, and how people may draw strength from these. It was hoped that by using positive psychology as a lens through which to explore the experiences of parents of children with cancer, a better understanding may be gained of what may drive or be ‘behind’ behaviours and strategies so frequently observed in coping literature.Part three comprises appendixes. These include a reflective statement on the process of conducting the research; the challenges faced and the lessons learnt. In addition, a reflexive statement regarding the researcher’s own beliefs, experiences and perceptions that may have impacted upon the research process is included. A worked example of IPA using a section of a transcript is also presented to illustrate the IPA process.
- Postgraduate Medical Institute, The University of Hull
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