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Making the Most of the Moment: When a Child’s Mother Has Breast Cancer

Davis Kirsch, Sallie E. PhD, RN; Brandt, Patricia A. PhD, ARNP; Lewis, Frances M. PhD, RN


The demands and uncertainties associated with adjustments to chronic illness present challenges to maintaining a stable family life. Little has been reported about mother–child relationships within the cancer experience and even less about interventions that may be useful to help these dyads maintain stability. The focus of this article is a pilot study of an intervention addressing the mother–child relationship of women with breast cancer and their school-aged children. A part of the data collection comprised interviews of mothers and fathers to assess their perceptions of the influence of the intervention on the quality of the mother–child relationships after the program. Using inductive content analysis, the fathers’ and mothers’ data were organized into categories, domains, and an explanatory construct, called making the most of the moment. The processes by which the intervention affected the mother–child relationships and implications for professionals who work with families are reported.

From the Family and Child Nursing Department, School of Nursing, University of Washington.

This pilot study was supported by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Puget Sound Affiliate and the Research Intramural Funding Program, University of Washington School of Nursing.

Corresponding author: Sallie E. Davis Kirsch, PhD, RN, Family and Child Nursing Department, University of Washington School of Nursing, 33129 6th Ave SW, Federal Way, WA 98023 (e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.