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

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

by Mark A. Chesler
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Reports on self-help groups of parents of children with cancer, from a series of studies conducted over 15 years. Of interest to such parents, professionals in health care and social services, social scientists studying either the target population or self- help groups in general, policymakers wondering how public and private resources can assist the effort, and friends who want to understand and support the parents. Includes suggestions on how to start a group. Paper edition (14824-6), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299148249
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
12/15/1995
Pages:
393
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

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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