Reconstructing reality: family strategies for managing childhood cancer

J Pediatr Nurs. 1997 Oct;12(5):278-87. doi: 10.1016/S0882-5963(97)80045-0.


The purpose was to describe strategies used by the family in response to childhood cancer and to relate those strategies to two different conceptual frameworks. A longitudinal, prospective, grounded theory study was conducted with a sample of 32 members of seven families who had a child recently diagnosed with cancer. All family members 5 years and older participated in three semistructured home interviews. Constant comparative analysis was used. The core process in which families engaged was reconstructing reality, using strategies of managing the flow of information, reorganizing roles, evaluating and shifting priorities, changing the future orientation, assigning meaning to the illness, and managing the therapeutic regimen. These strategies support a Family Management Style framework for viewing family management of pediatric cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Home Nursing / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies