A Phenomenologic Study of Fatigue in Adolescents Receiving Treatment for Cancer

Faith Gibson

Anne B. Mulhall

Alison Richardson

Jacqueline L. Edwards

Emma Ream

Beth J. Sepion

ONF 2007, 32(3), 651-660. DOI: 10.1188/05.ONF.651-660

Purpose/Objectives: To generate a detailed description of how adolescents with cancer manage their daily lives and the way in which fatigue affects this.

Design: Phenomenologic.

Setting: A pediatric oncology unit at a regional cancer center in the United Kingdom.

Sample: A convenience sample of adolescents (N = 8), aged 16-19 years and with hematologic or solid tumors, who currently were undergoing primary treatment.

Methods:Semistructured interviews were conducted using 11 open-ended questions.

Main Research Variables: Adolescents' perceptions of fatigue, well-being, and ability to maintain normal activities.

Findings: Adolescents reported fatigue as overwhelming and embedded in a syndrome of symptoms and emotions associated with the illness itself and with treatment. Fatigue had a significant effect on physical, psychological, and social well-being, placing an extra burden on adolescents who were striving for normality.

Conclusions: Equipped with a rich description of fatigue, clinicians will be better prepared to initiate strategies congruent with their own work settings and particular patients.

Implications for Nursing: The findings should enable healthcare professionals to construct a more accurate and perceptive picture of the needs of particular individuals, highlighting those that may be amenable to intervention.

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