Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MA in Child Development


Child Development Graduate Program


Childhood cancer affects not only the patient but also the family, including siblings. Often siblings are given less attention and must adapt to drastic life changes in isolation, potentially leading to long-term effects in adulthood. This study explores the influence of childhood cancer on identities of young adults who were children when their siblings were diagnosed with cancer. Ten participants completed semi-structured interviews that described their experiences with childhood cancer as well as their perspectives of the impact it has had on their current lives and identities. Two themes emerged with several subthemes from the 10 participants about the processing of their cancer experiences, including changes related to development and magnitude of impact, and participants’ current self-described identities, including increased awareness of mortality and increased empathy. Young adults have varying degrees and kinds of impacts from childhood cancer on their current lives and identities, yet share common themes and characteristics even decades after cancer diagnoses.