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Meaning Making and Religious Engagement Among Survivors of Childhood Brain Tumors and Their Caregivers

Em Rabelais
Nora L. Jones
Connie M. Ulrich
Janet A. Deatrick
ONF 2019, 46(2), 170-184 DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.170-184

Purpose: To describe how adolescent and young adult survivors and their mother-caregivers ascribe meaning to their post–brain tumor survivorship experience, with a focus on sense making and benefit findings and intersections with religious engagement.

Participants & Setting: Adolescent and young adult survivors of childhood brain tumors and their families, living in their community settings.

Methodologic Approach: Secondary analysis of simultaneous and separate individual, semistructured interviews of the 40 matched dyads (80 total interviews) occurred using conventional content analysis across and within dyads. Meaning is interpreted through narrative profiles of expectations for function and independence.

Findings: Participants made sense of the brain tumor diagnosis by finding benefits and nonbenefits unique to their experiences. Meaning was framed in either nonreligious or religious terms.

Implications for Nursing: Acknowledging positive meaning alongside negative or neutral meaning could enhance interactions with survivors, caregivers, and their families. Exploring the meaning of their experiences may help them to reconstruct meaning and reframe post-tumor realities through being heard and validated.

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