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Coping Strategies and Stress Levels for Caregivers of Children Diagnosed with Cancer

Feremenga Tariro, Rukweza Judith

Abstract


Having a child with cancer often bring challenges and burden to the caregivers leading to stress and psychological problems. In such circumstances, caregivers can use various coping strategies to cope and face this stressful situation. Knowing their effective coping strategies and stress levels may provide professionals with ideas on how to support them, which in turn may improve their psychological health. This study aimed to determine the coping strategies and stress levels of caregivers of children between 0-14 years diagnosed with cancer at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in ward A4 Special. The study adapted a cross-sectional quantitative study design and 30 participants who met the selection criterion were selected using the simple random sampling. Data was obtained using a face-to-face interview. Descriptive statistics for data analysis used SPSS version 20 and Computerised Statistical Microsoft Excel. The majority of caregivers were females (90%) and unemployed (73.3%). The findings revealed that most (73.3%) caregivers used religion as their only way of coping since all of them were Christians. The others (33.3%) used self-blame, a maladaptive coping strategy. Caregivers were also highly stressed with the highest level at 87.5% and minimum at 10% and mean stress level of 62.5% (±SD 35). Therefore, there seem to be empirical evidence that care giving for a child with cancer may cause stress. Hence, there is need for nurses and health professionals to provide appropriate interventions and use all effective coping strategies to reduce stress. There is also need for routine and early screening of caregiver’s stress levels to develop specific interventions hence reducing stress and increase quality care of the children. 


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