MEGAme: A Proposal for an Innovative Technological Application for Siblings of Pediatric Cancer Patients


Abbey Fox

Date of Award


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Shelly Smith-Acuna

First Committee Member

Fernand Lubuguin

Second Committee Member

Athena Baca-Chieza


Pediatric cancer patients. parents and siblings, psychological implications, family therapy


Childhood cancer has complex psychological implications. For the last 40 years, pediatric cancer research and services have primarily focused on the experience of the patient and parental unit. Siblings of cancer patients have historically been overlooked despite the reality that serious illness in children can have severe consequences for siblings. Recent clinical research emphasizes this void in clinical attention, and underscores the need for integrating the sibling experience into the patient and family narrative. A shift in understanding the psychological impact of pediatric cancer conceptualizes this event in the context of trauma, indicative of the reality that the event is usually life threatening and marked by a sense of helplessness. Attachment between the sibling and the parent can become threatened, based on parental availability, coping, and resources. A diagnosis of cancer can also cause significant behavioral disruptions within the family, such as changes to living arrangements and daily routines. There is a need to develop and implement an accessible, appealing, clinically informed coping tool specific to siblings of pediatric cancer patients. Therapeutic games have been widely utilized in family therapy, underscoring the need for effective communication and coping. Today, the advancement of technology has broadened the scope of accessibility to innovative games and resources available to families and children. However, there has not yet been an application developed that addresses the evidence-based experience of cancer as a sibling, the meta-intervention a tool that invites parents and siblings to approach and connect with the inherent changes and distress in their world.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


44 pages

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