Purpose: This study aimed to understand the experience of stress among fathers of children with chronic illnesses.
The Stress Experience of Fathers of Children with Chronic Illnesses: Qualitative Descriptive Research
Masahiro Haraguchi and Tomoko Takeuchi
Method: A qualitative descriptive research design was used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 fathers of children with chronic illnesses.
Results: Fathers' stress experiences were divided into four main categories through an inductive analysis of their narratives: 1) groping in the dark while being tossed around by the child's unstable medical condition; 2) heavy responsibility to fulfill the new role as the father of a child with a chronic illness and as a husband; 3) unfavorable lifestyle changes due to child's illness/treatment; and 4) isolation due to public ignorance and pity for the child's illness. These four categories were further divided into 14 subcategories. The fathers were shocked by the diagnosis of their children's illnesses and supported their wives and children as fathers/husbands with uncertain anxiety. The fathers had extremely stressful experiences in maintaining family function and building relationships outside of the home.
Considerations: Results suggest it should be essential for nurses to re-evaluate those fathers as care subjects who need social and psychological support, and positively include them in the support activities.