Talking about maternal breast cancer with young children: A content analysis of text in children's books

Xiaoyan Huang, Susan Lee, Yan Hu, Hongyun Gao, Margaret O'Connor

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Examine the content of children’s books and summarize the main issues related to communication with young children about maternal cancer, especially breast cancer. Methods: A search of English books discussing early-stage (breast) cancer and written for children aged 3–12 years was conducted on the Web site. Each of 45 identified books was analyzed independently by two of three coders using inductive qualitative content analysis. Results: The main contents of these books included cancer-related knowledge, impacts of maternal cancer, and coping strategies. The concept of (breast) cancer and its treatment was introduced in plain language and some common misunderstandings were clarified. The consequences of maternal cancer were highlighted. Conclusions: These books are beneficial to children and adults. However, impacts on school life, children’s concerns about financial burdens, and instructions about age-appropriate use of the books have been neglected. Additional studies should be undertaken to explore the value of these books.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-621
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • breast cancer
  • children's book
  • content analysis
  • maternal cancer

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