- Dehlin, Lena, 1953-, et al.
Adolescents’ experiences of a parent’s serious illness
Ingår i: Palliative and Supportive Care. - 1478-9515. ; 7:1, s. 13-25
- Objective:Adolescence is characterized by increasing liberation from parents as the young person evolves into an independent individual. Experiencing the serious illness and death of a parent during this phase implies great stress. Serious illness involves uncertainty, worry, and hope at the same time that it is necessary for everyday life to function. This study sought to describe adolescents' experiences in the serious illness and death of a parent.Methods:The study was carried out using a qualitative method. Data were collected in interviews with five adolescents who were 14-17 years of age when one of their parents died.Results:The results show that the parent's illness was a strong threat, as the adolescents understood that their own and the family's lives would be greatly changed by the illness/death. The incomprehensibility of the parent's serious illness and death was a threatening condition on its own. The adolescents strived to make the inconceivable more conceivable to understand what was happening. They also described the necessity of finding different ways of relating to and managing the threat, such as restoring order, seeking closeness, adapting, gaining control, avoiding talking about the illness, not accepting and counting the parent out. The adolescents described feelings of being alone and alienated, even though they were close to family and friends and they did not actively seek support. The lives of the adolescents were changed by their experiences, beyond their bereavement over the parent. They felt that they had become more mature than their friends and that there had been a change in their thinking about life, changes in values, and changes in their views of relationships with other people.Significance of results:The results of the present study can form a basis for developing a support program whose purpose would be to prevent effects on health.