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Experiences of Dutch students growing up with a family member with a chronic illness: a qualitative study.

Werf, H.M. van der, Paans, W., Emmens, G., Francke, A.L., Roodbol, P.F., Luttik, M.L.A. Experiences of Dutch students growing up with a family member with a chronic illness: a qualitative study. Health & Social Care in the Community: 2020, 28(2), 624-632
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Objective
Students growing up with a family member with a chronic illness often delay or drop out of school when the combination of family care and their educational programme is too demanding. This study aims to describe the themes experienced by students growing up in this situation.

Methods
A qualitative focus group design was used. The recruitment for this study was done through an online survey where students could indicate whether they also wanted to participate in a focus group. Twenty-five Dutch students (age 18-25 years) who grew up with a family member with a chronic illness participated in one of the total of seven focus groups. A qualitative inductive analysis was used to identify codes and main themes.

Results
Students growing up with a family member with a chronic illness experience responsibility issues, loyalty conflicts, peer alienation, role reversal, negative influence on personal development, daily worries and confronting situations. They reported substantial impact in terms of their general well-being, their family relationships and in their choices for their future. Students articulated that growing up in this situation has a serious and substantial impact on their lives.

Conclusion
Further research is required in order to gain comprehensive insights into the requests of these students regarding personal and family support.