Adolescent siblings of children with cancer: Resource-based profiles, normalization, and search for meaning in life

Liat Hamama*, Shoham Levy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Adolescent siblings of children with cancer jointly face the experience of having a brother or sister with cancer and being in the developmental period of adolescence themselves. Based on Hobfoll's conservation of resources theory, we aimed to identify profiles based on two distinct resources: sense of hope (personal resource) and perceived social support (social resource). Both have been found to be vital for optimal functioning during adolescence. Further, we examined differences in these profiles with regard to two distal outcomes: normalization (a coping strategy) and search for meaning in life (a commonly assumed adolescent developmental task). Methods: One hundred and eleven Israeli adolescent siblings (aged 13–17) completed self-report measures. Results: Two distinct resource-based profiles were identified: “high resources” and “low resources.” Participants with “high resources” had a higher sense of hope and higher social support; were significantly more likely to live with married parents than with unmarried parents; had marginally fewer siblings; and scored higher on normalization and search for meaning in life than did participants with “low resources.”. Conclusions: The study outcomes highlight the essential role of resources for this population. Such resources seem to be helpful for normalization, a coping strategy whose focus is on facilitating regular family routines, and for the siblings' search for meaning in life. Practitioners who work with families in the context of childhood cancer should aim to help these siblings obtain key resources, such as social support, and to actively pursue their goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-234
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume96
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • childhood cancer
  • normalization
  • perceived social support
  • resources
  • search for meaning
  • sense of hope
  • siblings

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