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Single Mothers with Breast Cancer: Relationships with their Children

Family Relationships and Familial Responses to Health Issues

ISBN: 978-1-78441-015-5, eISBN: 978-1-78441-014-8

Publication date: 13 October 2014



This chapter explores the relationships between 12 single mothers with breast cancer and their children, a subtheme of a larger qualitative study.


Qualitative data were collected via interviews. The study used the ecological systems theoretical framework to explain findings.


In speaking with women about how they constructed and altered their social networks post-diagnosis, many talked about their relationships with their children. This chapter explains how these mothers discussed their diagnoses with their children in age-appropriate ways; how they relied on their children during treatment for informational and emotional support; and how relationships with their children changed during treatment and recovery.

Research and practical implications

Based on findings from this study, family scientists, public health professionals, and oncology care providers may have a better understanding of the specific concerns and experiences related to the children of breast cancer patients without partners.


This study yields new information about the support needs of single breast cancer patients and their children, and offers insight into what researchers and medical teams can do to better support families affected by breast cancer.



Ginter, A.C. and Braun, B. (2014), "Single Mothers with Breast Cancer: Relationships with their Children", Family Relationships and Familial Responses to Health Issues (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 8A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 163-182.



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