Remembering friends: exploring the bereavement support needs of teenagers and young adults experiencing the death of a friend in the cancer setting
AffiliationOccupational Therapy, Salford University, Manchester, United Kingdom.
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AbstractIntroduction: Bereavement is often difficult for adolescents to cope with particularly when the death experienced is a friend due to cancer, while the young person is undergoing their own cancer treatment. There is limited research on this specific type of bereavement. The Teenage & Young Adult (TYA) team at The Christie in Manchester recognized the complicated nature of bereavement in this cohort and identified the need to research this area further. Methods: A mixed method research strategy was used to explore bereavement experiences of young people, gathering qualitative and quantitative data from a TYA bereavement advisory group and an online survey. Inductive thematic analysis was used to establish themes from the qualitative data. Results: Data from the advisory group and survey elicited four main themes: prevalence and emotional impact; maintaining and valuing friendships; communication and conversations; and support and space to grieve. Young people experienced multiple exposures to death, long-term emotional reactions, reflections on mortality, and fears of making new friendships. How a death was communicated was difficult, and bereavement support was lacking. Young people want a formalized bereavement service, provided by specially trained staff, and their own "space" to grieve. Conclusion: Young people in this study highlight the complicated nature of bereavement when their friend dies, while undergoing their own cancer treatment. Bereavement support is essential at the time of a death. TYA services bring young people together for peer support so more emphasis needs to be focused on providing bereavement support to reduce the risk of young people experiencing long-term psychological difficulties and negative outcomes later in life.
CitationMackland AE, Wright L. Remembering Friends: Exploring the Bereavement Support Needs of Teenagers and Young Adults Experiencing the Death of a Friend in the Cancer Setting. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology . 2021 Jun 7.
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology
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