Cancer and Self-help: Bridging the Troubled Waters of Childhood Illness

Front Cover
Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1995 - Medical - 393 pages

Written for and about the special population of parents of children with cancer, this book explores the remarkable effectiveness of self-help groups and profiles their rapid rise as a resource complementing traditional health care. Mark A. Chesler and Barbara K. Chesney draw on their own experience as members of such groups and on a combined thirty years of research on self-help. They provide essential information for families of children with cancer (and other chronic life-threatening illnesses), for health-care professionals working with them, and for scholars of self-help and psychosocial processes in health care--including explanations of how self-help groups function, why they are effective, and how they can be created and maintained.
The authors show that, through self-help groups, parents can learn coping skills, find personal affirmation and mutual support, and share the wisdom gained from their experiences. Chesler and Chesney find that group participation improves parents' coping capabilities in the face of terrible odds and fosters an increased sense of empowerment as they care and advocate for their children in an increasingly complex health care system.
Cancer and Self-Help distills the experiences of more than fifty self-help groups and their members over twelve years. It also places cancer self-help groups in a larger context, comparing them to other social movement organizations and to other strategies for personal coping or change. The book includes the voices of individual parents and professionals recounting their experiences; detailed examples of group activities, programs, operating procedures, and organizational structures; fundamental, how-to information on forming a self-help group; comments on the roles and dilemmas of health care professionals in these groups and on the medical care system as a whole, and interpretations of these individual and organizational dynamics.

 

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Contents

Cases
21
Social Support and Empowerment
30
Methods Used
52
How Groups Are Organized and Operated
107
The ShareCare Group
110
The ProfCare Group
115
The Living with Childhood Cancer Group
122
Crossing
151
Other Bridges
263
The ShareCare GroupTen Years Later
268
The Living with Childhood Cancer GroupTen Years Later
282
Other SelfHelp GroupsFor Other Life Crises
290
Building
309
Methods of Inquiry
329
Components of scales used for selfhelp group
332
A Note for Parents Seeking a Group
339

Bridging Parents
199
The Parent Advocate Group
208
Consumer Activism
226
Bibliography
362
Index
388
Copyright

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Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 370 - Self-Help Awareness in Israel: An Expression of Structural Changes and Expanding Citizen Participation.
Page 370 - Bender (eds.), Helping One Another: Self-Help Groups In a Changing World. Oakland, CA: Third Party Publishing Company, 1990 (pp.
Page 373 - KA (1987) Social networks and social support: a synthesis for health educators.

About the author (1995)

Mark A. Chesler is professor of sociology at the University of Michigan and the author of Childhood Cancer and the Family. He is a national board member of the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation and the founder of a local self-help group for parents of children with cancer. Barbara K. Chesney is associate professor of sociology at the University of Toledo and has been active in psychosocial research on public health and community organizations.

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