Emerging adult cancer: Parents' psychosocial challenges
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Previous research on how pediatric cancer affects the parent has found that parents experience decreased sense of personal functioning, mental health, and physical health, and negative changes in close relationships. To date, no research has shown how parents are affected when their emerging adult child (i.e. children between the ages of 18 to 25) experiences cancer. Considering the emphasis on newfound independence and self-focus in emerging adulthood, parents are expected to face unique psychosocial challenges when their emerging adult child has cancer. The purpose of this qualitative collective case study is to understand those challenges. Data were analyzed by thematic analysis. Themes emerged around parents not being heard or understood, independence of the child, changes in work and social life, and support. This study will inform further research and act as an advocacy tool for support and interventions specific to parents of emerging adult children with cancer.