Family resiliency during childhood cancer: the father's perspective

J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2007 May-Jun;24(3):152-65. doi: 10.1177/1043454206298844.


Most studies of childhood cancer have focused on mothers, but few studies have examined the views of fathers on the effects of their child's cancer diagnosis and treatment on the family. The purpose of this study was to explore the resources that help fathers adapt to life after their child's diagnosis using the resiliency model of family stress, adjustment, and adaptation as a framework. Eight fathers whose children had received treatment in a university pediatric oncology clinic in the prior 12 months were interviewed in depth. Data were coded thematically using NVivo. Results indicated that support from extended family, the church, and health care professionals was necessary for fathers to remain positive during their child's illness; spousal and parent-child relationships strengthened; and changes in family life varied based on the composition of the household. Further studies are warranted to better understand how fathers cope, so that pediatric oncology nurses and other health care professionals can provide holistic care that addresses the unique needs of all family members.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Family Health
  • Fathers / education
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Kentucky
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Oncology Nursing
  • Paternal Behavior
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires