Research on impact of maternal breast cancer on teenagers

Participants sought by NUI Galway team


Lorna Siggins

Western Correspondent

TEENAGERS of women with breast cancer are being invited to participate in a study at NUI Galway (NUIG) which aims to understand and assist adolescent responses to maternal illness.

Sons and daughters in the 14 to 19 year age group are being sought for the research,which is being carried out under the direction of Dr AnnMarie Groarke of NUIG’s school of psychology and Prof Pat Dolan,director of NUIG’s child & family research centre.

The research will examine the psychological impact of a mother’s breast cancer on teenage children and the benefits of an online skills based programme designed to help adolescents cope with this situation.

Dr Groarke has recently published work showing benefits for stress management programmes with Irish women with breast cancer.

“Paying attention to adolescent response to parental illness can help us to identify the kind of support needed and enable the design of programmes targeting their needs,”she says.

Prof Dolan notes that support needs in many families are often “unspoken”.

“This study is an opportunity for young people to discuss concerns and needs for reassurance for their families and themselves,”he says.

The researchers are keen to hear from women diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly in the last 12 months, who might be interested in their adolescent son or daughter taking part in the programme.

Participation involves completing an online survey exploring adolescent needs and experiences, and completing an online programme of approximately eight sessions, in their own time and at their own pace.

The online programme covers themes such as communication, stress management and social skills /social support.

Those interested should contact researcher Leonor Rodriguez through the School of Psychology main office 091- 493454 or email