An exploration of resilience in adolescents facing maternal cancer

Rodríguez, Leonor
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Rodríguez, Leonor. An exploration of resilience in adolescents facing maternal cancer. CANCER REPORTS, e1208. doi: 10.1002/cnr2.1208
Background Research findings on the impact of parental cancer on adolescents are inconsistent, some studies identifying negative psychosocial impact but others identifying positive impact; however, there is not enough understanding on the underlying factors that may lead to differences in outcomes. Research has found that resilience has a role in adolescents' adaptation to maternal cancer; however, the nature of this requires further exploration. Aims This analysis will help understand resilience in adolescents that experience maternal cancer by exploring the nature of resilience and the individual, family, and environmental risk and protective factors that determine resilience in adolescent lived experiences of maternal cancer that enable positive outcomes. Methods This study is part of a larger investigation focused on understanding adolescent adjustment to maternal cancer and the psychosocial factors that promote adjustment. Original adolescent interview transcripts (n = 15) were subject to a secondary thematic analysis. Results The analysis yielded four themes: the first theme, The Journey of Maternal Cancer, describes adolescent experiences of maternal cancer over time; the second theme is a detailed description of adolescent Protective Factors and how these supported the adolescents; the third theme describes the Risk Factors that adolescents faced; and the fourth theme summarizes the Positive Outcomes that adolescents self‐identified. Conclusion This study found resilience as dynamic, as it changes over time. These changes are a result of the course of maternal illness and its treatment over time. Adolescents can adapt to change, but this capacity is shaped by protective factors and risk factors as well as challenges that are unique to having a mother diagnosed with cancer. Most adolescents managed to navigate successfully and identified positive outcomes from a difficult and life‐changing experience. The study suggests the need to provide long‐term supports for adolescents and carry out longitudinal research to further understand the trajectories of resilience in adolescents who experience maternal cancer.
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland