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“The experiences of volunteers in a childhood cancer charity”

Eastaugh, Rachel Kathryn (2018) “The experiences of volunteers in a childhood cancer charity”. D.Clin.Psychol thesis, University of Leeds.

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Introduction: Serious childhood illness has a significant impact on the child and their family, but it is known that strong supportive relationships can act as a buffer. Due to limited NHS resources, volunteers are becoming integral to the support of such families. Despite this, little is known about the experiences of volunteers in such roles, and more specifically, those choosing to volunteer in emotionally challenging areas such as childhood cancer. Method: A sample of seven volunteers working for Candlelighters childhood cancer charity were interviewed using semi structured interviews; transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Volunteer’s experiences of working in a childhood cancer charity were described in terms of five superordinate themes: ‘Motivation’, ‘Identity and Roles’, ‘Coping’, ‘Community’, and ‘Family’. Overall, the themes captured what motivates individuals to volunteer and in particular why they chose the area of childhood cancer. The themes also reflected the impact that the role has on their sense of identity and self, and how the participants seemed to cope with that role. It is speculated that this is in part due to the protective experience of belonging to a community as described by the participants, with frequent allusions to an even deeper link in terms of feeling part of a family. Discussion: The findings of this study are related to the wider literature with consideration of role identity theory and the significance of community and relationships. The strengths and limitations are discussed to assess the quality of the study. Implications for our current understanding of volunteers and suggestions for future research are proposed.

Item Type: Thesis (D.Clin.Psychol)
Keywords: Volunteer, cancer, childhood illness, motivation, identity and roles, coping, community, family
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > Institute of Health Sciences (Leeds) > Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences (Leeds)
Depositing User: Miss R K Eastaugh
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2018 12:15
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2018 12:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21559

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