Patterns of Symptom Distress During the Initial Treatment Period in Three Children with Cancer
Review TypeNone: Degree-based Submission
Repository Posting Date2019-09-18T20:23:01Z
Author(s)Docherty, Sharron L.
Author DetailsSharron L. Docherty, PhD, RN
Lead Author Sigma AffliationBeta Epsilon
Level of EvidenceCase Study/Series
Research ApproachMixed/Multi Method Research
Childhood cancer treatment can be extremely aggressive and has been found to be more distressing and painful than the disease itself. This distress is a direct response to the symptoms caused by the side effects of treatment such as nausea, vomiting, retching, fatigue, anorexia, pain, stress, mood disturbances, and sleep alterations. Some children appear to adapt and cope well, whereas others are particularly susceptible to the physical intensity of the treatment symptoms and show physical, emotional, and behavioral manifestations of marked symptom distress. The ability to identify the symptom distress vulnerable child may be an important aspect of childhood cancer treatment and survival and an ultimate goal in prevention of long-term problems. A longitudinal, case study design was used to examine the day-to-day symptom experience of 3 children, aged 7, 12, and 16 years, throughout the first 3 months of chemotherapeutic treatment to elucidate patterns of symptom distress that may emerge in response to the treatment. The symptom patterns tracked and studied were (a) pain; (b) stress; (c) sleep alterations; (d) fatigue; (e) nausea, vomiting, and retching; (f) anxiety; and (g) perception of symptom experience. The overall research question addressed was: What is the profile of symptomatic response in children produced as a result of the side effects of chemotherapeutic treatment for cancer? Twice-daily data collection covered 3 months of the initial chemotherapeutic treatment protocol and included 3 classes of data collection techniques: self-report, biobehavioral, and interview. Visual inspection of the graphed data was used to examine the data for trends, patterns, and variability. The interview data was analyzed using content and narrative analysis techniques. Findings indicate that, for children, symptom distress is a constellatory mechanism and is not isolated to effects from individual symptoms. This distress may be expressed verbally, behaviorally, physiologically, and emotionally. The manner in which children express their distress may be dependent upon a multitude of factors including age, culture, and personality.
DescriptionThis dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 9943206; ProQuest document ID: 304516252. The author still retains copyright.
Degree GrantorThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
NotesThis item has not gone through this repository's peer-review process, but has been accepted by the indicated university or college in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the specified degree.
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