Parental cancer: Catalyst for positive growth and change

Janelle Levesque, D. Maybery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is a disease that affects the entire family, with each member having unique psychological needs. To date, there has been limited research into the effect of parental cancer on adult children. Furthermore, existing research has largely overlooked the possibility of positive psychological growth in the adult offspring of cancer patients. To investigate the perceived benefits arising from parental cancer, 11 interviews were undertaken with adults whose parents had been diagnosed with cancer, to discuss their experiences of their parent's illness, and their evaluation of both the positive and negative changes that had arisen. All participants were able to identify positive outcomes in direct response to their parent's cancer. Frequently suggested changes included improved relationships with their sick parent, an increased emphasis on family, revised life priorities, and personal development. The implications of these findings, their link to posttraumatic growth theory, and avenues for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-408
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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