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Quality of Life

The psychosocial impact of haematopoietic SCT on sibling donors


The physical and psychosocial consequences for patients undergoing blood SCT for the treatment of cancer and their families have been extensively documented. There has, however, been far less investigation into the psychosocial consequences for sibling donors who are both family members and undergoing an invasive medical procedure. The aim of this study was therefore to explore the psychosocial impact of PBSC donation before, during and after donation, and to gain insight into donors' experiences of the preparation for, and procedures associated with, donation. Participants included 13 men and 9 women, with a mean age of 53.1 (SD=9.4) years, who underwent PBSC or BM donation between 2007 and 2010. Data were collected via face-to-face or telephone interviews and a questionnaire. Results revealed that a broad range of both positive and negative emotions were experienced at different time points during donation. The psychosocial impact of donation was also influenced by the interactions between factors such as pragmatic aspects of the donation process; family dynamics; perceived adequacy of preparation and emotional support; and uncertainty related to health outcomes for the recipient and donor. Routine provision of psychosocial support to donors as well as recipients is therefore important.

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We thank the donor participants for sharing their experience of donation. We also thank the transplantation coordinators Maureen O'Brien and Georgia Stuart for assisting with identifying eligible participants. Final thanks to Professor Lenore Manderson who assisted in guiding the development of the study measure. All authors declare no conflict of interest related to this project, and no external funding was received for the conduct of this study.

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Correspondence to L Katona.

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Pillay, B., Lee, S., Katona, L. et al. The psychosocial impact of haematopoietic SCT on sibling donors. Bone Marrow Transplant 47, 1361–1365 (2012).

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  • cancer
  • oncology
  • hematopoietic stem cell transplant
  • donor experience
  • psychological distress

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