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“It’s your turn to step into their shoes”

“It’s your turn to step into their shoes” The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the role of empathy in adolescents coping with maternal cancer to identify passive and active empathy forms and the role of these in adolescent coping at a challenging time.Design/methodology/approachThis study was a secondary content analysis carried out on 15 adolescent interviews that were analysed to find the evidence of empathy in active and passive forms. Adolescents were between 14 and 20 years of age, their mothers were diagnosed with cancer in the previous 24 months to the interview.FindingsThe analysis identified more evidence of active forms of empathy than passive directed at ill mothers and their families as helpful behaviours and emotional support. Passive empathy was experienced by adolescents who did not have major changes in their daily routines because of maternal cancer. Both passive and active empathy were perceived as coping mechanisms. Maternal illness motivated adolescents’ empathy and encouraged actions to support their mothers, immediate and extended families.Originality/valueEmpathy is complex but can be important for adolescent development including their social skills and relationships; however, research has not evaluated the role of empathy in adolescents experiencing maternal cancer. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qualitative Research Journal Emerald Publishing

“It’s your turn to step into their shoes”

Qualitative Research Journal , Volume 19 (3): 12 – Jun 4, 2019

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1443-9883
DOI
10.1108/qrj-d-18-00045
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the role of empathy in adolescents coping with maternal cancer to identify passive and active empathy forms and the role of these in adolescent coping at a challenging time.Design/methodology/approachThis study was a secondary content analysis carried out on 15 adolescent interviews that were analysed to find the evidence of empathy in active and passive forms. Adolescents were between 14 and 20 years of age, their mothers were diagnosed with cancer in the previous 24 months to the interview.FindingsThe analysis identified more evidence of active forms of empathy than passive directed at ill mothers and their families as helpful behaviours and emotional support. Passive empathy was experienced by adolescents who did not have major changes in their daily routines because of maternal cancer. Both passive and active empathy were perceived as coping mechanisms. Maternal illness motivated adolescents’ empathy and encouraged actions to support their mothers, immediate and extended families.Originality/valueEmpathy is complex but can be important for adolescent development including their social skills and relationships; however, research has not evaluated the role of empathy in adolescents experiencing maternal cancer.

Journal

Qualitative Research JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 4, 2019

Keywords: Coping; Empathy; Adolescents; Maternal cancer

References