Study reveals benefits of wishes on seriously ill children and their parents

September 10, 2013

New research has shown that schemes that grant children with a life threatening illness a special wish have a positive impact on their and their family's wellbeing.

The research also demonstrates that seeing the child experience their wish was positive for the parents, while often it provoked bittersweet .

The study, published in Acta Paediatrica and led by Dr Anne-Sophie Darlington, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, Professor Passchier and Dr Heule at the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands, interviewed and surveyed 235 parents of children who had been granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the Netherlands.

Parents were asked about their general impression of the wish and whether they felt it improved wellbeing and coping after the event. Parents who had sadly lost their child before the study were asked if the wish had influenced their bereavement.

Results showed that almost all parents (92 per cent) indicated that the experience was a positive one and the majority agreed that their child momentarily did not feel ill during the event. Parents also said their child was distracted from their situation.

Parents said that it was an important memory for them, although a minority thought their child's had increased after the event.

Parents (47 per cent) admitted that they often felt sad and conflicted as well as happy; they were happy their child received their wish but sad that they were eligible for a wish.

For those parents whose child had died before the start of the study, 21 per cent felt the wish fulfilment helped with .

Dr Darlington comments: "There has been a growing interest in the influence of positive events on , especially of those people who are ill. Many organisations organise events with the that these events improve the lives of the recipients. However research on such activities and their impact has been fairly scarce.

"Our study has shown that on the whole the experience is a positive one with children experiencing more energy and parents being distracted. However, longer term effects were only found for a small group of parents and children. We are very grateful to the for taking part in our study."

Explore further: Children of same sex attracted parents score high on health and wellbeing

Related Stories

Children of same sex attracted parents score high on health and wellbeing

June 7, 2013
Australian children of same-sex couples fared better on average than families from the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion, but continue to be subject to discrimination, interim findings of ...

Some parents want their child to redeem their broken dreams: New study first to test popular psychological theory

June 19, 2013
Some parents desire for their children to fulfill their own unrealized ambitions, just as psychologists have long theorized, according to a new first-of-its-kind study.

Middle-aged mothers and fathers only as happy as their least happy grown child, research shows

August 24, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Despite the fact that middle-aged parents are no longer responsible for their grown children, the parents' emotional well-being and life satisfaction remain linked to those children's successes and problems ...

Child's cancer often causes parents severe distress: study

April 2, 2013
(HealthDay)—Many parents of children with advanced cancer have high to severe levels of psychological distress, a new study finds.

Why parenting can never have a rule book

September 3, 2013
Any parent will tell you that there is no simple recipe for raising a child. Being a parent means getting hefty doses of advice – often unsolicited – from others. But such advice often fails to consider a critical factor: ...

The How-to Parenting Program improves the mental health of children

August 20, 2013
While children of all ages will be heading back to school in a few days, a new study from the Université de Montréal may encourage their parents to return to the classroom themselves ... at least for a few evenings! The ...

Recommended for you

New comparison chart sheds light on babies' tears

July 10, 2017
A chart that enables parents and clinicians to calculate if a baby is crying more than it should in the first three months of its life has been created by a Kingston University London researcher, following a study of colic ...

Blood of SIDS infants contains high levels of serotonin

July 3, 2017
Blood samples from infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) had high levels of serotonin, a chemical that carries signals along and between nerves, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes ...

Is your child's 'penicillin allergy' real?

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Many children suspected of being allergic to the inexpensive, first-line antibiotic penicillin actually aren't, new research indicates.

Probiotic supplements failed to prevent babies' infections

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Probiotic supplements may not protect babies from catching colds or stomach bugs in day care, a new clinical trial suggests.

Starting school young can put child wellbeing at risk

June 22, 2017
New research has shown that the youngest pupils in each school year group could be at risk of worse mental health than their older classmates.

Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze, but the medical benefits are unclear

June 21, 2017
Last week, German customs agents in Frankfurt Airport seized 35 metric tons of an imported plastic device, destroying the shipment for public safety purposes before it could infiltrate the country's marketplaces.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.