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J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 1995 Apr;12(2):51-8; discussion 59-61.

The effects of a support group on selected psychosocial outcomes of bereaved parents whose child died from cancer.

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  • 1Center for Cancer Treatment and Research, Richland Memorial Hospital, Columbia, SC 29203, USA.


Group support for bereaved parents whose child died from cancer has been suggested as a means of helping parents express emotions about their loss and improve their coping. Using a quasi-experimental design, we sought to determine the selected psychosocial effects of participation in a support group for bereaved parents whose child died from cancer. Five bereaved parents completed the Emotions Profile Index, the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales, and the Social Adjustment Scale Self-Report before and after the seven group sessions. No statistically significant differences were found. Descriptive data were analyzed from the co-therapists' process log and the participants' evaluation forms. The group process log revealed intense pain and grief over the loss of the child and the parents' conscious struggle to adapt to the present and prepare for the future. The discussions poignantly indicated the great extent to which the child's death had changed their lives. Using the group evaluation form parents reported high satisfaction with the group sessions. Tentative conclusions support the value of such a group in providing a forum for some bereaved parents to ventilate feelings and thoughts and validate the normalcy of their reactions.

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