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Untimely passages : young adult daughters share their experiences of parental cancer Puterman, Jennifer Katzenstein

Abstract

Parental cancer during young adulthood is often unexpected and potentially disruptive to the developmental goals of this period. This study explored how young adult women experienced a parent's cancer diagnosis and treatment. Five young adult participants, who had a parent receiving cancer treatment, were interviewed for this research. The interactive interview format, derived from an autoethnographic approach, allowed the researcher to include her own experiences of her mother's cancer in the data and analysis. Themes arising from the data included: (1) time, (2) the meaning of cancer, (3) coping, (4) relationships and interaction, (5) family relationships, and (6) spirituality and hope. Although parental cancer presents numerous challenges, the experience appears to become a learning opportunity incorporated into development. Overall, young adult daughters demonstrated resiliency and adaptability in response to their parents' illnesses, and managed to negotiate their own needs while continuing to provide support to their parents and families.

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