Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

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Clinical Perspective

Childhood cancer: a parent's perspective on social support, with a case illustration

Maria Papaikonomou


When a child is diagnosed with cancer, parents enter unfamiliar terrain, where their basic childrearing tasks are challenged. Life changes from diagnosis onwards, through adjustment and then life beyond the illness. Provision of psychological support for the whole family after primary diagnosis is widely considered essential. The objective of this study was to explore a husband and wife's journey of coming to terms with their child's cancer, and to describe resources they used to get through this ordeal. The method used in this study was a case study, using narrative analysis. The positive influence of a social support group is discussed as the main coping mechanism for this family on their path to recovery.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2007, 19(1): 65–73
AJOL African Journals Online