Purpose/Objectives: To describe contextual features of the experience of adolescents with cancer in the United States; to relate these features to a different theoretical perspective, the Shifting Perspectives Model of Chronic Illness; and to derive implications from that model for conducting research with adolescents who have cancer.
Data Sources: 64 qualitative and quantitative studies and clinical anecdotes.
Data Synthesis: Unique features of adolescents with cancer related to person, disease, and treatment indicate that existing theories on adolescence do not adequately guide research efforts with this patient population, nor do they adequately assist in explaining study findings.
Conclusions: The Shifting Perspectives Model of Chronic Illness is useful in generating potentially important hypotheses about adolescents and their experiences with cancer and has the promise of guiding research design and method selection for studies involving adolescents with cancer. The model also highlights a moral responsibility for researchers who conduct studies with this patient population.
Implications for Nursing: Nurse researchers who use this model to guide their research will create a purposeful balance in methods that allows adolescents with cancer to choose the amount of time and detail they will give to illness-related or to wellness-related responses in studies, particularly those that rely on self-report methods.