My project concerns the experiences of adolescents (11+ years old) who have a parent living with cancer that has not been confirmed as terminal. I’m interested in how their inner and outer lives may be affected by this uncertain situation; practically, socially, emotionally and behaviourally.

I’m also curious about what, if any, help they may have sought or received. My aim is to gain insight into the unique experiences and needs facing these young people and how we, as mental health workers, can best support them. There is very little analytical research evidence in this field, particularly in the UK. The project will therefore be an exploratory study, hopefully shedding some light on a group of young people with specific cognitive and affective challenges who have fallen under the radar in both medical and mental health settings.

I’m a third-year student in the University of Roehampton’s Integrative Psychotherapy for Children, Young People and Families MA programme and am running a study as part of my final year.

Study Method:
The first stage will involve a questionnaire with multiple choice and short answer questions about your experiences working with this population of young people. There will be no questions requiring you to provide specific information about any individual adolescents you have worked with. The questionnaire will take about half an hour to fill out. It will be emailed to you with a consent form outlining confidentiality and anonymity procedures. Upon completion of the consent form and survey, all materials can be emailed back to me.
The second stage will involve a semi structured “virtual” interview. These interviews are projected to last approximately 30 - 45 minutes and will involve in-depth exploration of some of the issues raised in the questionnaire. All interviews will be conducted on Zoom at your convenience. You will have the chance to opt out of the interviews, although it is hoped that most respondents will provide consent.

Participant Requirements:
Participants need to be over 18 years old and working in any supportive (or related) capacity with young people who have a parent with cancer. Support could be provided in a variety of ways: voluntary, mental health, youth work, schools, or medical settings.

I very much appreciate you taking the time to read this. I feel strongly that there is much to learn about the experiences of these young people living with parental cancer and that this knowledge could be used to develop and provide appropriate, targeted support to help them through this potentially challenging time. I do hope you’ll be willing to participate and I look forward to “meeting” with you on-line. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any enquiries.

With thanks,
Aimee Dover dovera@roehampton.ac.uk