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Normalization behaviours of rural fathers living with chronically-ill children: an Australian experience.

Research paper by Blake B Peck, Jennifer J Lillibridge

Indexed on: 03 Feb '05Published on: 03 Feb '05Published in: Journal of child health care : for professionals working with children in the hospital and community



Abstract

This article reports findings from a larger qualitative study conducted to gain insight into the experience of fathers living with their chronically-ill children in rural Victoria, Australia. Data were collected via unstructured interviews with four fathers. The findings presented in this article explore the phenomena of normalization for fathers within the chronic illness experience. Fathers described normalizing the experience of living with their chronically-ill child as involving a combination of various coping strategies and behaviours including: (1) accepting the child's condition, (2) changing expectations, (3) focusing energies on a day-to-day basis, (4) minimizing knowledge-seeking behaviours, and (5) engaging in external distraction activities. Findings highlight the complex and unique normalization strategies these men utilized and contribute to knowledge and understanding of the complex nature of raising a chronically-ill child in rural Australia and provide a sound basis upon which to guide an ongoing and holistic assessment of fathers with chronically-ill children.