Reconstructing normality following the diagnosis of a childhood chronic disease: does “rare” make a difference?

Germeni, E. , Vallini, I., Bianchetti, M. G. and Schulz, P. J. (2018) Reconstructing normality following the diagnosis of a childhood chronic disease: does “rare” make a difference? European Journal of Pediatrics, 177(4), pp. 489-495. (doi: 10.1007/s00431-017-3085-7) (PMID:29335841)

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Living with a childhood chronic disease can be challenging, especially if the diagnosis involves a rare condition. This study sought to elucidate how the diagnosis of a rare disease, as compared to a common, chronic condition, may influence maternal experiences of childhood illness. We conducted face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with 26 mothers of children treated in a pediatric hospital in the province of Lecco, Italy. Half of the participants had a child diagnosed with Bartter syndrome (BS), and the rest had a child suffering from celiac disease (CD). Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using an inductive thematic approach. We identified three main themes from the analysis of our data: (1) disrupted normality and the need to know, (2) reconstructing normality, and (3) acting “normal.” Although most participants experienced the disclosure of diagnosis as a relief, processes that facilitated normality reconstruction in celiac families, notably access to appropriate information, social support, and personal contact with comparison others, were found to be important stressors for mothers living with BS. Conclusion: This comparative qualitative study provides evidence on how well-known problems associated with the rarity of childhood diseases impact on families’ efforts to cope with the illness and regain a sense of normality.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Germeni, Dr Evi
Authors: Germeni, E., Vallini, I., Bianchetti, M. G., and Schulz, P. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment
Journal Name:European Journal of Pediatrics
ISSN (Online):1432-1076
Published Online:16 January 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in European Journal of Pediatrics 177(4):489-495
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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