Communication Privacy Management Theory: How parents talk about their children who have a chronic illness

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2017-04-11
Authors
Hutton, Kara
Heller, Saraj
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Altmetrics
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Communication Studies and Psychology
Abstract

Caring for chronically ill children has received considerable attention in the pediatric health literature. Today, approximately 1 out of 5 North American children are diagnosed with chronic conditions that require parents to become caregivers for their sick child. Parents have a significant and pervasive role in the management of a child's chronic condition. On average, parents report spending an extra 30-40 hours per week to address to the specific needs of their child's chronic condition. Many of the responsibilities required of parents may involve communication work in which parents actively design messages as they interact with medical professionals, other family, and friends. Using Communication Privacy Management (Petronio, 2002) as a theoretical framework, we analyzed 35 transcripts from parental caregivers to understand the specific motivations and strategies involved in parents’ regulation of information about their child's condition and treatment. These findings have important practical implications as parents’ involvement in caregiving for their chronically ill child has direct effects on a child’s and family’s coping and overall well-being.

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