I'm Here, Too: Being an Adolescent Sibling of a Pediatric Cancer Patient in Turkey

J Pediatr Nurs. Mar-Apr 2020;51:e77-e84. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2019.10.003. Epub 2019 Oct 22.


Purpose: This study aimed to determine experiences and needs of Turkish adolescent siblings of children with cancer (SCC) and to identify if there is a country/culture-specific risk factor for these siblings.

Design and method: In this qualitative study hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used. Eighteen eligible siblings were selected purposively from two hospitals in Ankara, Turkey. Interviews were conducted with a semi-structured form. Content and thematic analyses were used to analyze the data.

Results: The data revealed three levels of themes. The main theme was based on "I am here, too". From the first moment of diagnosis, siblings need to be visible and noticed by others. They seek ways to make sense of the disease as they experience dramatic changes in all aspects of their lives (high level themes - first encounter with the disease and changes in life). They expect their parents and relatives to support them (expectations) when they turn to various methods to cope with the changes (coping styles).

Conclusions: The lack of protective psychosocial care is a basic risk factor for adolescent SCC in Turkey. Despite its various limitations, the strongest aspect of this study is that it is the first publication that determines the experiences of Turkish SCC in their own words. In addition to supporting recent findings about siblings' experiences, obtaining some country-specific findings is a strength of the present study.

Practice implications: Providing psychosocial risk assessment of the siblings' immediately after diagnosis is necessary. It can be helpful to inform parents about the risks.

Keywords: Adolescent; Neoplasms; Nursing; Psychosocial care; Sibling; Turkey.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Siblings / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Turkey