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08-03-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2017

Journal of Child and Family Studies 6/2017

Perceptions of Hospitalization by Children with Chronic Illnesses and Siblings

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 6/2017
Laura Nabors, Melissa Liddle


Understanding children’s perceptions of their illnesses and functioning when they are undergoing medical procedures remains an important area for research. Further research about siblings’ perceptions will also provide knowledge about how they are coping with a brother or sister’s chronic illness. The current study examined the perceptions of children with illnesses and their siblings using a play interview. Themes in the data indicated resilience in child functioning for both patients and siblings. Children with chronic illnesses could experience pain, which often related to fears and other negative feelings about hospitalization and potentially doctors or nurses, if they were administering painful procedures. Distraction and prayer were coping tools for patients. However, most patients believed their illness and recovery would be a “long journey.” Brothers and sisters of children with chronic illnesses could experience loneliness. A more common report was a strong desire to help and be a support for a brother or sister with an illness. Support from parents was critical for both patients and siblings and both typically enjoyed child life activities. A member-checking process, with a different group of children with illnesses and siblings, was used to audit themes discovered after reviewing play interviews. The audit process supported the positive and negative themes in the data. In the future, examining the impact of magical thinking on outcomes and conducting studies after the children have gained distance from medical trauma will be important. Moreover, increasing a focus on resilience as a hallmark of children’s functioning remains another area for further research.

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