Date of Award

Spring 4-11-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Genevieve Lowry

Abstract

Adolescence is a time for social and emotional growth and learning how they interact and engage in the world around them. When an adolescent is diagnosed with a life threatening cancer diagnosis, it can have a substantial impact on their ability to maintain social and emotional connections with their peers. Disruptions in school and peer relationships can lead to isolation, withdrawal and poor coping. Many factors contribute to a teens inability to stay connected with their current peer group, as well as make it difficult to develop and meet new peers in the hospital setting that are also coping with a cancer diagnosis. With an increase in adolescents use of technology, phone use and social media, an online support group was established for teens undergoing and 1 year post cancer treatment in a rural hospital setting. The group was implemented, facilitated and evaluated by a certified child life specialist. This paper will examine the effectiveness of an online platform for teens diagnosed and undergoing cancer treatment for improving peer relations, increased coping, and expression of feelings.

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