The cyberspace use by adolescents, in palliative care: An ethnographic approach


The cyberspace use by adolescents, in palliative care: An ethnographic approach


Borghi CA; Szylit R


Palliative Medicine




human; female; male; palliative therapy; clinical article; conference abstract; friend; ethnography; symbolic interactionism; interview; adolescent; qualitative research; outpatient department; social network


Background: While work with adolescent in Paediatric Palliative Care we need to notice their development (psycossocial and cultural). The adolescence it is characterized by social questions, where the adolescent need to belong to some group and their friends are very important. The technological growth changed the adolescent communication, nowadays, within the cyberspace, the adolescents can use the social networks and instant messaging platforms for communication with their friends, so they can keep connected constantly with, regardless of where they are or what are they doing and promote a sense of belonging to a group of friends. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the use and the content of the cyberspace by adolescents in palliative care with life limiting conditions and life treatment. Methods: This is a qualitative study that used the combination of two ethnography's methods in two different environments - the virtual and the real one. In a period of six months, ten adolescents in palliative care were observed and interviewed in an outpatient clinic. In the virtual environment, their social network profiles were observed since the begging of use. We have collected 8861 posts. All the posts with the ten interviews were decoded for the Symbolic Interactionism analysis. Results: It was possible to identify themes that include: "Being an important space for me"; "Using the cyberspace for being a normal adolescent"; "My disease in the cyberspace" and "Expressing my feelings". Conclusion: The social networks are an important tool to promote care for adolescents with life limiting disease, because the social network encourage then for the communication with their friends and family, besides of being a space for the adolescents can share their experiences and learn with others. The health care professionals need to work with adolescents and families who are in Palliative Care using those tools to interact with them and promote more care and support.


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Citation List Month

August 2018 List



Borghi CA; Szylit R, “The cyberspace use by adolescents, in palliative care: An ethnographic approach,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 3, 2023,