Date of Graduation
School of Nursing
Fatigue is a common and distressing symptom of childhood cancer that is often viewed as an inevitable part of cancer treatment and under assessed in clinical practice. Yet, cancer-related fatigue can disrupt normal childhood development and family functioning, as well as, signal serious complications of cancer and its treatment. Little is known about fatigue and quality of life among children undergoing cancer treatment in outpatient settings. This qualitative descriptive study explored parents' observations and interpretations of cancer-related fatigue and how it shaped their child's day-to-day quality of life during cancer treatment. Eleven participant interviews were gathered from parents of children (1-12 years of age). Data collection and analysis were guided by the concept of pediatric cancer-related fatigue, domains of pediatric quality of life, and methods of conventional content analysis. Three themes containing 7 categories and subcategories emerged that represented parents' descriptions and interpretations of (a) life before cancer diagnosis, (b) fatigue shaping everyday quality of life, and (c) perspectives on fatigue. Participants noted changes in their child's life before and after cancer and described behavioral manifestations of fatigue disrupting relationships with siblings and peers, school attendance, play and participation in preferred activities, family outings and functioning, and other domains of quality of life. However, the parents did not interpret or attribute these changes to the symptom of fatigue shaping everyday quality of life. The findings of this study suggest that parents of children with cancer and health professionals have different definitions, perspectives, and interpretations of the meaning of cancer-related fatigue to a child's everyday quality of life. Implications for nursing practice, theory, research, and education are discussed.
Keener, Tina Antill, "Parents' Perspectives, Observations, and Interpretations of: Cancer-Related Fatigue and How the Symptom Shapes their Child's Day-to-Day Quality of Life" (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 3646.