Experiences and resistance strategies utilized by fathers of children with cancer

Soc Work Health Care. 2009;48(3):260-75. doi: 10.1080/00981380802591734.


This study examines the experiences of fathers of children diagnosed with cancer. In this grounded theory study, participating fathers were qualitatively interviewed using a theoretical sampling approach. Results indicate fathers to be profoundly affected by their child's condition of cancer. Fathers' experiences include isolation and heightened sadness and uncertainty. Paternal roles comprise providing family support, sufficient resources, and seeking to maintain family stabilization. Post-diagnosis lived experience is described to hold new meaning as fathers reconcile the presence of childhood cancer within the life of their child and family. Strategies of resistance are demonstrated as fathers combat the devastating impacts of cancer through a commitment to family integration, healthy personal lifestyle and attitudes, support seeking, spirituality, and reframing of priorities. An emerging model is presented, as are implications for practice and recommendations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms*
  • Quality of Life
  • Young Adult