Fathers’ Experiences of Childhood Cancer: A Phenomenological Qualitative Study

Jenny Davies, Moira O’Connor, Georgia K.B. Halkett, Lauren Kelada, Nicholas G. Gottardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has shown differences in how fathers and mothers respond to a child’s cancer diagnosis. Previous studies have highlighted that sociocultural norm shape fathers’ experiences of their child’s cancer diagnosis. Our phenomenological qualitative study aimed to examine the lived experiences of fathers whose children have been diagnosed with cancer and explore the impact of sociocultural gender roles. Fathers whose children were currently receiving treatment or had completed treatment in the previous 15 months were recruited from across Australia. Twenty-one fathers were interviewed. Five themes were identified: (a) Your world falls apart: Diagnosis and treatment; (b) Care for the child: Just the way it is; (c) Keeping strong: Finding ways to cope; (d) Employment: Practical and emotional support at work; and (e) Guilt, relief, and grief: Facing death. This study demonstrates the profound impact of a child’s diagnosis on fathers and demonstrates that societal–cultural norms influence fathers’ experience of childhood cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-165
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


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