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Author on Call

The function of the “Author on Call” blog is to allow our readers and authors to interact with each other in a unique way. A few select authors will be chosen to share on the blog aspects of their papers that were especially meaningful to them personally or points that may not have made it into their published report. Readers will then have the opportunity to provide comments and questions, to which the authors will respond.

At times, as seen in our first entry, we will also post separate entries to the blog on various special topics that we feel would be informational or that we welcome your feedback on.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Friendship in Adolescents and Young Adults With Experience of Cancer: A Dimensional Analysis

Friendship in Adolescents and Young Adults With Experience of Cancer: A Dimensional Analysis

Evered, Jane A., BSN, RN

"In experiences with family members and clinical practice with adolescent and young adult patients in inpatient oncology, I noticed friends are largely absent. Rarely physically present, friends were also seldom discussed or assessed for clinically. This greatly puzzled me, given the strong emphasis on friendship as key to adolescent and young adults' development and wellbeing. It seemed those viewed as friends the day before a cancer diagnosis change to being viewed solely as potential sources of social support after a cancer diagnosis. However, it struck me that there was something more to friendship. We often don't consider enough what it means to adolescent and young adults with an experience of cancer to be, as well as to have, friends.

This dimensional analysis provides the beginning of a theoretical understanding of the nature and meaning of friendship for adolescents and young adults with cancer, a group for whom the existence and experience of friendship has been largely neglected theoretically, clinically, and empirically.  It reveals the experience of friendship for adolescents and young adults to be much more complex and dynamic than has been previously captured by traditional focuses on social support. I'm intrigued by the product of this dimensional analysis: a definition of friendship in the context of adolescent and young adult cancer. This is a foundation on which future empirical work can build. My current research is focusing on the friendship experiences of adolescent and young adult survivors of childhood brain tumors. It is my strong belief that attention to friendship demonstrates to adolescents and young adults with and after cancer that they are worthy of normative social relationships."

--Corresponding author Jane Evered on her paper, "Friendship in Adolescents and Young Adults With Experience of Cancer: A Dimensional Analysis" currently published online ahead-of-print on the CANCER NURSING Web site.  The full article may be viewed here with a subscription.